Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationNorthwestern U.
Grant numberGr. 9975
Approve DateAugust 26, 2020
Project TitleOguz, Zeynep (Northwestern U.) "The Island to Come: Geopolitical Disputes, Offshore Hydrocarbons, and Political Futures in a Divided Cyprus"
From British colonial rule (1878-1960) to the ongoing Turkish occupation since 1974, the politically divided island of Cyprus has been in the midst of geopolitical conflicts in the Mediterranean Sea. Recently, significant offshore natural gas reserves have been discovered in the waters of Cyprus, exacerbating existing disputes and bringing global attention to the Cyprus dispute. These debates, however, rarely explore what Cypriots—the Turkish and Greek inhabitants of the entire island—envision for their political and environmental future in the wake of these discoveries. Taking “Cypriots” as all inhabitants of the island regardless of ethnic, religious, or political status, this six-month research project examines how Cypriots are recasting their political future in relation to the hydrocarbon discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Building upon critical approaches to geopolitics, sovereignty, and territory in political anthropology and geography, energy humanities, and critical studies of oceans and islands, this project attends to the political imaginaries in Cyprus that go beyond the narratives dominating analyses of the Cyprus dispute and offshore hydrocarbons today. In a period of planetary ecological crisis caused by systematic fossil fuel use, a critical and experimental anthropological take on the intersection of fossil fuel politics and political-territorial futures becomes even more urgent.