Nese Kaya Ozkan
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationArizona, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10008
Approve DateAugust 26, 2020
Project TitleKaya Ozkan, Nese (Arizona, U. of) "Vampires, Environmental Change, and Linguistic Ideologies in Homshetsi Lands, Turkey"
NESE KAYA OZKAN, then a graduate student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizon, was awarded funding in August 2020 to aid research on “Vampires, Environmental Change, and Linguistic Ideologies in Homshetsi Lands, Turkey,” supervised by Dr. Jennifer Roth-Gordon. Against a background of a century of assimilationist language policies informed by Turkish nationalism leading to the endangerment of Hemshin language, Hemshin people in Turkey have faced intensive development projects, especially hydropower plants, stone quarries, large-scale industrial logging, and major roads. As Hemshin lands and livelihoods are dramatically transformed by such projects, Hemshins are articulating their environmentalist opposition increasingly in terms of Hemshin identity and linguistic and cultural survival through a politics of place-keeping. Drawing on 12-months of digital ethnographic field research in several key sites and locations, including the Facebook and Instagram pages of Hemshin organizations, websites, and Hemshin individuals, this research demonstrates how language and environment (and concerns over these) emerge as increasingly entangled phenomena that structure inequalities, but also, how they constitute resources for potentially redressing inequalities in Hemshin social and political life. As Hemshins foreground the intimate interactions they have cultivated with their lands for decades and deploy their cultural and linguistic resources such as place narratives, place names and traditional songs and dances in their place-keeping politics, past relations with their human and nonhuman environment, language, and traditional practices are (re)membered, (re)contextualized, and (re)-valued, pointing to new possibilities for both linguistic and environmental survival.