CULTURAL STUDIES SPEAKER SERIES
Our speaker on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
is Laurent Dissard and his lecture is titled
"From Shining Icons to Contested Infrastructures: “Damming” the Munzur Valley "
Turkey has built more than 700 dams within its borders to regulate floods, provide water, and produce electricity. This talk will trace the shift in perception, from shining icons of progress to contested infrastructures, of dams in Turkey from the late 19th century to the early 21st century. In a first part, I explain how these large immobile infrastructures have witnessed the demise of an empire, helped to build a nation, fought in the Cold War, and will, as the backbone of a development project, supposedly solve “Turkey’s Kurdish Question.” In a second part, I shift the focus to reflect upon the “damming” of the Munzur Valley in Eastern Turkey, which has been actively contested by a network of local Tuncelililer, global environmentalists and anti-dam activists, as well as members of human-rights advocacy groups.
Laurent Dissard received his PhD in 2011 from the University of California, Berkeley in Near Eastern Studies. He was most recently an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Penn Humanities Forum. He is currently in Istanbul finishing his book manuscript titled Submerged Stories: Rescue Archaeology and Cultural Erasure in Eastern Turkey and regularly writes about the politics of the past in Turkey on his website Past & Present.
Place: FASS 2034