[PAST EVENT] Reves Hall Coffee Hour: Ghazis or Beggars: The Double Life of Turkish Disabled Veterans

November 30, 2012
4:30pm - 5:30pm
Chancellors Hall (formerly Tyler Hall), Room 201
300 James Blair Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Presented by Salih Can Aciksoz, Mellon Faculty Fellow, Asian and Middle Easter Studies.

This talk centers on Turkish conscripts disabled in clashes with the guerillas of the Kurdistan Workers' Party in one of the longest lasting ethno-political armed conflicts in the Middle East.

While being glorified in the nationalist discourse as honorable sacrificial heroes, ghazis, these disabled veterans have been faced with socio-economic marginalization, corporeal stigma, and emasculation anxieties in their daily lives. In such a context, they have become important ultranationalist actors in the 2000s, championing a conservative agenda around the issues of democratization, multiculturalism, and Turkey's pending European Union membership.

Based on 24 months of fieldwork in Turkey, this talk uses gender as an analytical lens to explore the tensions between the idealized disabled veteran figure in Turkish nationalist imagery and veterans' everyday experiences of disability. In the talk, it will be argued that attending to these gendered tensions is crucial to understand the structure of feelings that underlie Turkish disabled veterans' political activism.

At a time when there are more "low-intensity" conflicts in the region than ever before, this talk offers insights into the embodied connections between violence, masculinity, and social movements in the Middle East.