The Making and Unmaking of Borders and the State

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State-Building and Borderlands: Control of the Turkish State on an Everyday Level
Dilan Okcuoglu (American University) 

Poverty in a Land of Plenty: Kurdish Kolbers, Racialized Labor, and State Violence in Iran 
Ahmad Mohammadpour (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Responsibility to Protect, the Libya Effect, and Politics of Despair in Syria
Basileus Zeno (Amherst College) 


Dr. Dilan Okcuoglu is a postdoctoral fellow in Global Kurdish Studies at the American University, School of International Service in Washington, DC. Prior to that, she was a visiting scholar at the Cornell University, M. Einaudi Center for International Studies. Also, affiliated with the Center for Democracy and Diversity at Queen’s University and the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Democracy and Diversity at the Université du Québec à Montréal since 2018-2019. She received her PhD and MA in Political Studies from Queen’s University in Canada. She has another MA degree from Europe (Central European University); finished her undergrad in economics (Bogazici University). In addition to academic life, she has keen interest in diplomacy and policymaking. Dr. Okcuoglu has an interdisciplinary background in politics, economics and philosophy. Her teaching and research interests primarily lie in the politics of MENA, conflict and peace studies, comparative territorial and border politics, democratization, global justice, ethnic politics and nationalism as well as state-minority relations in conflict zones. Okcuoglu has already published book chapters (Oxford University Press and Palgrave Macmillan) and op-eds (in the Conversation; Peace Insight; Jerusalem Post; Daily News; National Post). She is currently working on her article manuscripts and a book proposal in DC.

Dr. Ahmad Mohammadpour is a socio-anthropologist from Eastern Kurdistan, Iran. He holds a PhD. in sociology from Shiraz University - Iran and another in anthropology at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst where he taught courses on nationalism, and ethno-religious conflicts in the contemporary Middle East. Mohammadpour research centers at the intersections of the internal colonialism, minoritized ethno-religious communities, and political economy of de-development in the Middle East, with a focus on Kurds in Iran. He has written eight monographs and (co)authored over 60 academic articles in English, Kurdish and Persian. Mohammadpour’s works on Kurdistan are widely considered models for ethnographic and grounded theory-based research in Iran. Mohammadpour’s research has thus far appeared in various international peer-reviewed journals such as Current Anthropology (forthcoming), The British Journal of Sociology, Third World Quarterly, Ethnicities, Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, among others.

Dr. Basileus Zeno is Karl Loewenstein Fellow and Visiting Lecturer in Political Science at Amherst College. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2021. Dr. Zeno’s research centers around themes of forced migration, violence, colonial legacies, interpretive methodology, nationalism, and sectarianism in the Middle East. He has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork with Syrian asylum seekers and refugees in the United States, and has published in the Middle East Law and Governance journal and Jadaliyya and has other forthcoming peer-reviewed articles. Additionally, Dr. Zeno is a MESA Global Academy Fellow and part of the LSE research project “Legitimacy and citizenship in the Arab world.”

Discussants & moderator

Can Aciksoz, UCLA

Laurie A. Brand, USC

Ali Behdad, UCLA (moderator)

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Duration: 02:22:40


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Published: Friday, October 8, 2021