Research projects

Below is a list of research projects, for which the LSE Contemporary Turkish Studies staff have received grants from funding bodies. 

2019 ASMEA Best Conference Paper award


Date received: 1 November 2019 

Dr. Seçkin Sertdemir Özdemir and Professor Esra Özyürek have received the Best Conference Paper Award in the Twelfth Annual International Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA)'s conference for their paper titled "Citizenship Deprivation, Securitisation, and the Neoliberal Academy: Academic Purges in Turkey, 1933-2019". 

British Academy Mid-Career Fellowships - Prof. Esra Özyürek

Date received: May 2019

Title of research project: Holocaust Memory and Immigration Integration in Europe

Brief description of research project: A fundamental aspect of contemporary European, especially German, national identity is the necessity of coming to terms with the Holocaust and learning the ‘right’ lessons from it, above all the emotional and ethical lessons of empathy and tolerance. Following World War II, Muslim-background minorities arrived in large numbers in Western Europe to help rebuild the war-torn continent. Today these same immigrants, many of them second- and third-generation, are commonly accused of being unable to relate to Holocaust history, of remaining unsympathetic towards its Jewish victims, and of importing new forms of anti-Semitism. Accordingly, the German government, German NGOs, and Muslim-minority groups have together begun to organise an assortment of Holocaust education and anti-Semitism prevention programmes designed specifically for Muslim-background immigrants and refugees, so they too can learn the ‘right’ lessons from the Holocaust and thereby share in Germany’s most important post-War political values. Based on ethnographic research this project explores recent debates about the responsibility of immigrants in shouldering Holocaust memory culture having the potential to draw those citizens without a European background towards post-Holocaust European values such as tolerance, democracy and empathy. However, it also focuses on how these debates can drive such citizens away, by reproaching them for not having gone through the same stages of democratisation that Germans have gone through since losing World War II.

British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants - Prof. Esra Özyürek and Dr. Seçkin Sertdemir Özdemir

Date received: 1 Sep 2017

Title of research project: Academia in Exile: The Turkish Case

Brief description of research project: We are witnessing the largest intellectual exodus for safety since 1930s when Jewish and non-Jewish German speaking scholars had to escape the Third Reich and find safety in other countries including Turkey. Today thousands of scholars are deserting Turkey through legal and illegal means and seek refuge in European countries. This wave started before but accelerated after the failed coup attempt of 15th July 2016 which facilitated the persecution of all opposition groups. This project focuses on the conditions in which the exiled scholars leave Turkey and the ways in which they build up lives in Western Europe, specifically in Germany, France, and the UK. This study will allow us to understand the new forms of intellectual exile in the new wave of global authoritarianism. More importantly it will give us clues to the changing role of intellectuals and academia in the world. Our main contribution will be to re-analyse the notion of exile through an interdisciplinary approach that brings together history, anthropology and political philosophy.

Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship
Dr Eray Çaylı

Amount received: 50% match-funding for full-time salary costs

Date received:  May 2018 - May 2021

Title of research project: Catastrophe, urban renewal, and architectural activism in contemporary Turkey

Brief description of research project: This research investigates the implications of a recently introduced legal infrastructure in Turkey that has triggered countrywide urban renewal, purportedly to disaster-proof its building stock. Complicating dominant understandings of the contestation between such government measures and dissentient responses to them as a binary opposition between power and resistance, residents of certain neighbourhoods have appropriated (rather than resist) this legal infrastructure to pursue urban renewal as a grassroots project. Through an ethnographic study of design and construction activity in these neighbourhoods, this research aims to understand the participation mechanisms, knowledge production methods, and architectural technologies involved in citizen-led urban renewal.

LAHP Interdisciplinary and Cross-Institutional Training Fund
Dr Zerrin Özlem Biner

Amount received: £3000

Date received: July 2017

Title of research project: Refugees, Ethics and Methodology in Europe and the Middle East.

Brief description of research project: This training programme aims to open up ground for graduate students to discuss the ethical and methodological issues researchers need to tackle when conducting field research, writing and publishing on refugees. The programme provides six seminars with scholars, policy makers and artists with established research experience in the field of refugee studies within different contexts of the Middle East and Europe.

British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant
Dr Eray Çaylı

Amount received: £10,000

Date received:  March 2017

Staff involved: Dr Eray Çaylı

Title of research project:  A 'Natural' Reckoning

Brief description of research project:  This research investigates the methodological and ethical stakes involved in considering environmental disaster as a medium for reckoning with political violence. Its case studies come from artistic and architectural production in contemporary Turkey.

IGA/Rockefeller Foundation Research and Impact Seed Fund
Assoc. Prof Esra Özyürek

Amount received: £6,000

Date received: January 2017

Title of research project:  Resilience on the Aegean Cost: Kurdish Survivors of the Conflicts in Turkey and Syria 

Brief description of research project:  This research aims to set the beginning stage of a longitudinal ethnographic and historical study of internally and internationally displaced Kurdish migrants in Izmir from Southeastern Turkey and Syria.