Fieldwork blog: Gurbetci

To understand the historical, political, and emotional resonance of this migration, we must first analyse such categories as gurbet and gurbetci. The gurbetci – one who lives in exile, diaspora, or away from the homeland – lives in a state of gurbet. It is a relative term, one that might describe the state of those living in Frankfurt, as well as Turks living in Istanbul, who feel that their primary identification is with their natal village rather than the city. The emergent literature and musical genres produced by Turkish artists in western Europe, although addressing this relatively recent phenomenon, actually draws upon a long tradition of exile and gurbet experiences. Throughout history, Turks have known many types of exile and migration. Thus, there is an established paradigm for the cultural structuring of contemporary labor migration.

Chapter 8 “Shifting centers and emergent identities: Turkey and Germany in the lives of Turkish Gastarbeiter,” by Ruth Mandel in “Muslim Travellers: Pilgrimage, Migration, and the Religious Imagination” by Dale Eikelman and James Piscatori (1990) University of California Press, Berkeley

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Fieldwork blog: what do border-crossing videos do?

The first people I spoke with in Istanbul mentioned the protests outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam. This demonstration had followed the Dutch authorities’ decision to disallow Turkish ministers entry into the Netherlands to campaign for the “yes” vote in the Turkish referendum. This didn’t surprise me, since the affair was international news. But what struck me was that a few of them spontaneously referred to one video from the protest, which they had watched online via social media posts. This same video came up in a total of five different conversations I had with people during my one month stay. And remembered having seen it because friends of mine in the Netherlands had also shared it on Facebook while I was still in Amsterdam.

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My book is out: ‘The Internet and Formations of Iranian American-ness’

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I’m very happy to share that my book has been released. The full title is “The Internet and Formations of Iranian American-ness: Next Generation Diaspora,” and it’s about how various digital media applications and platforms come to be embedded within the lives of second-generation Iranian migrants in LA. It argues that digital media become such an important part of identity formation for these young people that “digital styles” of being Iranian American take shape. Continue reading “My book is out: ‘The Internet and Formations of Iranian American-ness’”

Fieldwork blog: The Amsterdam-Istanbul connection vs. The Hague-Ankara tension

Amsterdam West March 12th, outside my front door. A demonstration of Erdogan supporters passed through my neighbourhood, blocking traffic in the street

A week ago I was in Amsterdam, preparing for a month of field research in Istanbul. That same moment happened to be a time of exceptional diplomatic tension between the Netherlands and Turkey. What did that mean for the Turkish-Dutch connections of migration and digital media I wanted to study?  Continue reading “Fieldwork blog: The Amsterdam-Istanbul connection vs. The Hague-Ankara tension”

Guest lecture on using data visualization methods in anthropological research

Image credits: Mark Smiciklas

I’m glad to have the rather unique opportunity of giving a guest lecture this week to anthropology students who want to know more about the possibilities of data visualization methods within an ethnographic research design. The lecture is part of a methods module in the Anthropology Bachelor at the University of Amsterdam that directly addresses questions about how compatible “qualitative” and “quantitative” methods are with one another.    Continue reading “Guest lecture on using data visualization methods in anthropological research”

Guest Lecture on Digital Memory

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Screen capture from the documentary game, The Cat and the Coup, in which you play the game as the cat of Iranian Prime Minister Mossadeq during the CIA coup against him in 1953

In January, 2017 I’ll be giving a guest lecture in the wonderful course, Somatechnics: Bodies and Power in a Digital Age, led by Dr. Domitilla Olivieri and Dr. Magda Gorska. My lecture will be based on a chapter of my book, The Internet and Formations of Iranian American-ness, which will also be coming out in 2017. The chapter focuses on how practices of collectively remembering the past involve various forms of media. Specifically, it raises questions about what digital mediation does to these practices of remembering. One of the striking examples that I discuss in the chapter is The Cat and the Coup. Continue reading “Guest Lecture on Digital Memory”

Press Release: Wilders protesters were unlawfully arrested


This week, the lawyer who is working on the cases of myself and the nine other women who were arrested in January this year for staging a protest against Geert Wilders got in touch with some news. He let us know that the the public prosecutor had confirmed in an email that our cases had been dismissed on the grounds that our arrests had been unlawful. I’ve added an English language translation of the press release he drafted together with us below. Please feel free to spread it as you see fit. This outcome important for a number of reasons…

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