Nadide Ozge Serin

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Whitman College

Grant number

Gr. 10569

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Serin, Nadide Ozge (Whitman College) "Writing of Death: Ethics and Politics of the Death Fast Resistance in Turkey (2000-2007)"

While hunger strikes have been a key tactic of political prisoners in Turkey since the 1980 military coup, they have newly become part of a global repertoire of bodily resistance to raced, classed, and gendered forms of confinement. My book project, Writing of Death: Ethics and Politics of the Death Fast Resistance in Turkey (2000-2007), is an ethnographic study of the 2,286-day hunger strike among political prisoners contesting the regime of isolation in Turkey’s newly instituted maximum-security prisons. I draw on 30-months of fieldwork including in-depth interviews with surviving hunger strikers, former political prisoners, families, medical doctors, and human right advocates, as well as textual analysis of prison memoirs, diaries, correspondence, and photographs. In close engagement with the scholarship on the body as an ambivalent ground of both oppression and emancipatory transformation, I argue that the readings of the hunger striking body–specifically the body as symbol and body as weapon–prevalent in anthropology fail to capture a crucial dimension of the hunger strike insofar as they focus solely on the individual body. Reconfiguring the hunger striking body as relational and multiple, I introduce a new understanding of resistance that is not modeled on the sovereign power of life and death.