Nese Kaya Ozkan

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Arizona, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10008

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Kaya Ozkan, Nese (Arizona, U. of) "Vampires, Environmental Change, and Linguistic Ideologies in Homshetsi Lands, Turkey"

The Homshetsis (commonly known as “Hemşinli”) are an ethnic group living in the eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey who speak Homshetsnak, an endangered Armenian dialect. Against a background of nearly a century of assimilationist Turkish nationalism leading to a language shift from Homshetsnak to Turkish, recently the Homshetsi lands have faced intensive “development” projects resulting in limited livelihood opportunities, large-scale deforestation, loss of biodiversity and “species invasions”. Today many Homshetsis are mobilizing around language revitalization and environmental activism to the extent that environmental concerns and concerns about language loss and revitalization are increasingly one and the same. This study consists of 12 months of ethnographic research to understand how activist and non-activist Homshetsis make sense of the increasingly entangled socio-linguistic and environmental transformations in their region, focusing on ideologies and discourses about these changes and the specific socio-historical, political and economic processes shaping them. I will conduct fieldwork in Homshetsi language organizations, regional environmental organizations, at protests, festivals, cafes, language teaching classes, homes and tea fields in Artvin, summer pastures, and Istanbul in order to understand how growing overlap in linguistic and environmental awareness is influencing Homshetsi people’s everyday life practices, identities, language use, and political activism.