Mehmet Fatih Tatari
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Davis, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9435
Approve DateApril 18, 2017
Project TitleTatari, Mehmet F., U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Farmer Organizing in Northeastern Turkey: Making Cheese and Reimagining Borders,' supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena
MEHMET F. TATARI, then a graduate student at University of California, Davis, California, received a grant in April 2017 to aid research on “Farmer Organizing in Northeastern Turkey: Making Cheese and Reimagining Borders,” supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena. Through ethnographic fieldwork in Northeastern Turkey, this research investigates everyday animal husbandry and cheesemaking practices that make boundaries, which differ from – and at times challenge – state imposed borders. In so doing, it focuses on a nascent collaboration between small farmers as they engage in place-based certification processes of local cheese products. The geographical borders that these certificates define in official legislations are deeply entangled with the contentious political borders in the region. This research first interrogates the relationship – frictional or collaborative – between everyday pastoral practices and the ways in which the nation-state exercises its sovereignty. What are the practices through which cheesemaking enables local communities to remember and negotiate violent memories, and to reimagine boundaries? How do these practices circumvent state enforcement of borders? Secondly, this research is concerned with the materiality of cheese, as farmers and scientists mobilize it through their collaboration. What kinds of new regional boundaries are produced through the practices of local cheesemakers and microbiologists, and how? This fieldworked thus approached cheese as an important node – and perhaps agent – in different practices of border-making by the nation-state and local communities on the one hand, and by scientists, animal husbandry practitioners, and dairy producers on the other.