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Zeynep Oguz, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD in Cultural Anthropology, The City University of New York
Zeynep Oguz is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology at Northwestern University. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from the Graduate Center, the City University of New York in 2019 with her dissertation “Sedimenting Territory: A Political Geology of Oil, Earth, and Spatial Politics in Turkey.” Zeynep holds a MA degree in anthropology from Columbia University (2011) and a BA degree (2009) in sociology from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. Located at the intersection of environmental anthropology, political geography, and Science and Technology Studies (STS), her book project takes oil examines how oil, petroleum geology, and energy infrastructures have mediated the relations between geological/earthly and social/political formations by analyzing the making and unmaking of territorial formations in Turkey, especially in relation to contested geography of Kurdistan or southeastern Anatolia. Offering an alternative genealogy of the Kurdish Question from the perspective of energy, resource, and Earth politics, the book will also trace contemporary politics in Turkey back to the aftermath of World War I, when a new international order was cast, and globally extractive-colonial logics of fossil fuel-based capitalism consolidated. Zeynep’s work points to the inseparability of anti-imperial, decolonial, and non-carbon politics for attaining livable and just worlds. Zeynep’s research has been funded by grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Her essays on resource politics and geology, oil conspiracies and authoritarian populism, and colonial politics in Kurdistan, are forthcoming in Cultural Anthropology, Political Geography, and several edited collections. At Northwestern, Zeynep is teaching a course titled “Fire and Blood: Resources, Energy, and Society.” This course examines the movement of resources such as coal, oil, uranium, or sunlight, to cultural and political worlds by engaging with the history of global capitalism, colonial legacies of resource extraction and toxicity, and current debates around post-carbon futures and energy justice. In Spring 2020, Zeynep will teach “Earth Politics and Poetics: Knowing, Shaping, & Imagining the Planet,” a course that surveys of how scientists, artists, indigenous peoples, and philosophers have attempted to observe and represent Earth and its dynamics, living beings, and forces since the 18th Century.
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