Cagla Ay

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Massachusetts, Amherst, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10491

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Ay, Cagla (Massachusetts, Amherst, U. of) "Rethinking the Agrarian Question Through Multispecies Lens: A Transnational Exploration of Finike Oranges"

This project investigates the discrepancies and inequalities that appear in the intersections of science, capital and agriculture. It does so through a multi-sited ethnography centered on Finike orange while moving across orange groves, citrus laboratories, and archival records in Turkey and California. In summer 2021, orange groves in Finike were threatened by a proposed highway project that would have flattened them, yet the Finike locals successfully blocked that threat to their groves. This is partially because these oranges have a Geographical Indication (GI) product designation as ‘Finike Oranges’ based on nutritional values, attributed to Finike valley’s ecology. However, despite this location-based emphasis, they paradoxically belong to the family of Washington Navels which were propagated in the US through plant biology, before they were brought to Turkey through a state-sponsored scientific project. Situated at the nexus of plant biology, farm labor, and GIs today, Finike oranges provide a locus to investigate the diverse agricultural knowledge and world-making practices that appear at those intersections, and the possible reconfigurations they generate. Drawing on critical agrarian studies, anthropological studies on terroir and the posthuman scholarship, the project ultimately seeks to rethink the “agrarian question” through multispecies lens.