Call for Papers: Protest and Movement Research on Turkey: Performances, Representations, Rituals

Location: Turkologentag 2016. Hamburg, 2016, 14-17 September

Organisation: Dr. Berna Pekesen (Universität Hamburg, Asien-Afrika-Institut, Abt. für Geschichte und Kultur des Vorderen Orients)

Deadline for the proposals: March 1, 2016

Details about the registration for the Turkologentag 2016.


With the “Occupy Gezi Park” movement in 2013, Turkey witnessed arguably the largest public protest wave of its recent history. The “Gezi movement” was distinguishable in many ways: While past protests in the 1960s and 1970s in Turkey were rather marked by monothematic political and economic protest motives, the Gezi has been a pluralistic public movement with multiple claims and demands. Starting with a sit-in to save the trees in the Gezi Park at the Taksim Square from being razed to build a shopping mall, the protest soon expanded to other metropolises in Turkey. “Gezi” became a melting pot of anti-capitalists, environmentalists, urbanists, feminists as well as of leftists Muslims and football fans. Environmentalist and urban sensitivity became intertwined with frustration and discontent with the authoritarian and moralizing politics of the AKP government. The Gezi Park event unfolded new ways of political and cultural activism such as collective or individual performative actions (performance, street art, installations, graffiti etc.) and highlighted the role of digital media, particularly social media as means of protest and resistance. The Gezi movement has been compared to other social protest movements world-wide, throughout history as well as to previous protest waves in Turkey. Some observers identified more de-ideologized forms of popular protest in the Gezi; others saw the Gezi protesters as the carriers of the “spirit of 1968”.

The panel attempts to gather various perspectives and disciplines researching on protest and social movements on Turkey since the 1960s (including labor, leftist, women´s, youth and Gezi Park movement) or other related and comparative works and subjects. Original work and case studies are most welcome. Since historical movement research on Turkey is rather an under-researched field, the panel aims to discuss both the empirical analysis as well as theoretical reflection. This includes reflecting upon the outcomes on similar works on global currents throughout history. What can we learn from international research and what explanatory force might these have on our own studies?

The panel will be conducted in German. English presentations are also welcome. Each paper will be given 20 minutes for presentation. Please submit your abstract (300-500 words) in German or English including a short CV by email to

CfP in German (pdf): Protest- und Bewegungsforschung zur Türkei: Performative Akte, Inszenierungen und Rituale

CfP in English (pdf): Protest and Movement Research on Turkey: Performances, Representations, Rituals

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