Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCornell U.
Grant numberGr. 9475
Approve DateApril 25, 2017
Project TitleSari, Elif, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Waiting Amidst Violence and Uncertainty: LGBTI Asylum in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Saida Hodzic
ELIF SARI, then a graduate student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received a grant in April 2017 to aid research on ‘Waiting Amidst Violence and Uncertainty: LGBTI Asylum in Turkey,’ supervised by Dr. Saida Hodzic. This ethnography studies LGBTI asylum in Turkey, examining how the practices and processes of the transnational asylum system shape Iranian refugees’ individual and communal experiences. The transnational asylum system represents LGBTI asylum as a continuous journey from home country to host country, past to future, and oppression to liberation. However, even those people who are granted recognized refugee status spend many years waiting in Turkey before they have a chance to be resettled to a third country that is willing to accept them. As the prospect for resettlement has been severely undermined by the recent asylum policies of the U.S. and Canada, and as Turkey has been failing to qualify as a ‘safe country,’ refugees are overwhelmed by unsafety of their present and uncertainty of their future. Yet, they also respond to violence and uncertainty in various ways, through humor, political and communal organizing, alternative support and solidarity networks, and queer kinship ties. Thus, this ethnography suggests that while waiting serves to govern and demobilize refugees, LGBTI refugees also turn it into an active time-space of emerging queer socialities and solidarities. Data collection involves participant observation and interviews with Iranian LGBTI refugees, lawyers, and national and international asylum agencies and humanitarian organizations.