Politics and Practices of Resistance in the Middle East

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Panel with Haydar Darici (American University), Serra Hakyemez (University of Minnesota), and Melissa Bilal (UCLA)

Haydar Darici is a postdoctoral fellow in Kurdish Studies at American University. His research focuses on youth politics of resistance in Kurdistan.

Serra Hakyemez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota , holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University. Based on her archival and ethnographic research on terror trials in Diyarbakir, Turkey (2008-2009, 2013-2015), her dissertation, Lives and Times of Militancy, examines what the “political” looks like within the space of law where Turkey resumes its war of terror against the Kurdish movement through myriad judicial and penitentiary technologies. Hakyemez currently works on a book project, Laws of Terror: Becoming Political in Criminal Courts, which approaches the political vulnerability of Kurds before the law as generative of a grammar of defense that is at once aspirational, corporal, and collective. Laws of Terror argues that the vague and arbitrary execution of anti-terror laws not only fail to discipline Kurdish revolutionaries into citizen-subjects, but also gives birth to an intimate space in which the “terror” suspects work together to redraw the lines between hope and despair, politics and criminality, and heroism and treason. Hakyemez’s research has been awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, and Wenner-Gren Foundation. Her publications in peer-reviewed journals and opinion pieces draw on the literature on ordinary ethics, political community, and human rights to examine the imbrications of law and violence in Turkey’s war of terror.

Melissa Bilal is Distinguished Research Fellow at UCLA Center for Near East Studies and Lecturer in the Department of Ethnomusicology. She previously taught at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Boğaziçi University, and the American University of Armenia (where she still serves as a member of the core team developing the Gender Studies program). Dr. Bilal received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Sociology at Boğaziçi University and earned her Ph.D. in Music from the University of Chicago. She was a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Music at Columbia University and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Orient-Institut Istanbul.

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Published: Friday, December 4, 2020