Istanbul, November 2010
Historical and panoramic revisionism on the turkish-armenian border
This is an html5 presentation I used for a series of lectures I held at the University of Bologna. An analytical examination on three concepts (panoramas, landscapes and sceneries) in order to build an anthropological and visual approach to borderland's life and society.
It's all about material and immaterial heritage manipulation. In these lectures I try to explain the Turkish nationalist attempt to "build a landscape" that could have a uniform meaning and it could be also a homogeneous context for the thoughts of local actors, travelers and curious. The aim of this decades-long project is force locals and travelers to think in a Turkish way about that borderland.
Published in Civil Society Reclaims Public Space: Cross Perspectives Based on Research. Ljubljana, Urban Planning Institute Press, 2012
Izmir is a modern and neoliberal Turkish metropolis that stands out against the political and civil conservatism of Istanbul. In its districts, during the last decade, many urban areas have become the scene for the face-off of the Turkish historical laicism and the Islamic renaissance. My aim is to show the influence of this face-off on the organization of public space around an urban campus. The object of this study is a non-institutionalized re-adaptation of a kiosk located in front of the campus gate, whose windows have been obscured.
The purpose of the kiosk is to help all the Muslim women to remove and don their headscarf in front of a mirror, unobserved by the general public. In 2009 in Turkey the headscarf was forbidden in every school and state building, while allowed in private and public places. The use of the kiosk reveals two realities, one secular and one religious, that here as elsewhere still have not reached a conclusive synthesis. But in this specific case women have found a way out by re-adaptating the public space around the campus.
The article presents the kiosk as a physical and semantic frontier between two social areas ruled by different habits and laws. Then it focuses on the perception and the usage of this public space by different, potentially antagonist, groups. Finally it highlights how re-appropriation of the public space for religious practice revolutionizes the form and the function, as well as the significance of the area
Published in Al Crocevia delle Civiltà: Ricerche su Caucaso e Asia Centrale. Venezia, Ca' Foscari, 2014
The Turkish sub-caucasian policies have become more clear and explicit recently. Ankara has definitively moved towards Baku, sacrificing its international relations with the Armenian world. This policy has affect «Igdir il», a little-known Turkish province at the foot of Mount Ararat that borders Armenia, Nakhchivan and Iran.
In this article my aim is to show both discrepancies and affinities between the Turkish governmental policies and the perception of Armenians otherness among locals. I will present some ethnographic cases and I will reflect upon Igdir’s social context and historical heritage, focusing my attention on the mark of the Turkish nation-state in the territory. Then I will discuss the disconnection between cultural diversity and geographical distance expressed by the locals.
An Online Visual Fieldwork from Igdir, Turkey, 2011
Koleksiyon is my online ethnographic diary realised via pictures. This is the idea: every weekend I update the website with the three most meaningful pictures to me, choosing from the photos I took the week before. This should create a visual collection of my momentary points of view. A kind of steady description of this environment and the people that live in it.
"With some interest in photography and some skill in web design, I thought to improve my ethnography research and i realized this ethno/photo/graphic diary. The aim of my ethnographic research is looking into the connections between everyday life, religious practices and social spaces organization. My starting point is a small shia community, located less than ten kilometers away from the main city of the province.
Koleksiyon was born here, as an "experiment" on me, a newcomer who's experiencing some difficult to understand the local way of life. In these months, by working on this website, I'm carring out that "experiment". I'm collecting my points of view to form one big picture that can be compared with my field notes or any insight. The construction of this big picture is also the reason that makes me choose to upload only three photos per week. that said, the main purposes of koleksiyon are two:
• highlighting the differences between the focus of my eyes and the focus of my mind, while i'm involved in the fieldwork;
• find out how the same big picture (formed by all the photos that i took, that i choose for a very specific reason) speaks to another mind, not involved in this fieldwork.
I hope that koleksiyon could be a way to show up my ethnographic method, with its lacks, little successes and faults. the updates will come every sunday."