Today thousands of academics from Turkey, along with others from Syria, Iran, and Egypt, are deserting their homeland in search of intellectual refuge in Western countries. These exiled academics practice diverse forms of teaching and researching, both in Turkey and in exile. The authors argue that the current struggles of oppositional academics inside and outside Turkey offer insight into the nature of the global crisis in neoliberal academia based on precarious working conditions and commodification of education. Some of the answers to this crisis may lie, as they did in the 1930s and 1940s, in the hands of those same persecuted scholars who bring with them academic perspectives forged in oppressive regimes. An approach that goes beyond humanitarian support has the potential to pluralize the academy.
Exile and Plurality in Neoliberal Times: Turkey’s Academics for Peace
Dr. Seçkin Sertdemir Özdemir (PhD, Paris VII-Denis Diderot University and Galatasaray University, Paris-Istanbul) is Visiting Fellow at European Institute, London School of Economics where she is leading an interdisciplinary research project “Academia in Exile: The Turkish Case” in collaboration with Dr Esra Özyürek. She focuses on the intersections between contemporary and modern politics, philosophy, and ethics, in particular as they relate to human rights, democracy, politics of inclusion-exclusion and rising authoritarianism.
Dr. Nil Mutluer (PhD, Gender Studies, Central European University, Budapest) is the Einstein Senior Scholar in the Diversity and Social Conflict Department at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany, where she was an interim professor of Public Law and Gender Studies Department in 2018. She was awarded the Philipp Schwartz Research Fellowship of Humboldt Foundation (2016–2018). She is the editor of the books States of Gender: The Intersectional Borders of Gender in Turkey (2008) and States of National: Citizenship and Nationalism, Are We Aware? (2008).
Dr. Esra Özyürek (PhD, Anthropology, University of Michigan) is an associate professor and Chair for Contemporary Turkish Studies at the European Institute, London School of Economics. She is the author of Being German, Becoming Muslim (2014) and Nostalgia for the Modern (2007). She also is the editor of Authoritarianism and Resistance in Turkey (with Gaye Özpınar and Emrah Altındiş) (2018) and Politics of Public Memory in Turkey (2007).
Seçkin Sertdemir Özdemir, Nil Mutluer, Esra Özyürek; Exile and Plurality in Neoliberal Times: Turkey’s Academics for Peace. Public Culture 1 May 2019; 31 (2): 235–259. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-7286801
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