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"
ZEYNEP OGUZ, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, was awarded a grant in August 2020 to aid research on ‘The Island to Come: Geopolitical Disputes, Offshore Hydrocarbons, and Political Futures in a Divided Cyprus.’ In the last decade, the discovery of huge offshore gas deposits in the continental shelves and exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Cyprus, triggered new geopolitical disputes between Turkey, Cyprus, and Greece over maritime sovereignty rights and the political future of the island, which has been partly occupied by Turkey since 1974. This project explored the political-environmental futures that Cypriots ‘the Turkish and Greek inhabitants of the entire island’ envision in the wake of gas discoveries and the urgent need to stop fossil fuel production to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown. The research combined interviews with environmental activists, peace activists, and members of peacebuilding international organizations with historical research on bi-communal peace movements in Cyprus. The grantee interviewed approximately 100 individuals from the organizations and initiatives mentioned above, and attended the virtual meetings hosted by Don’t Dig! and Unite Cyprus. The grantee reviewed and analyzed reports by PRIO, United Nations, Interpeace, and Seeds of Peace. Following the anthropological tradition of taking ordinary people, their aspirations and actions as makers of political worlds, these findings point at possible futures beyond military occupation, ethnic-nationalist conflict, and fossil-fueled extractivism.