JUNE 7, 2023

Umut Yıldırım is rethinking the concept of dereliction by focusing on the flora and fauna indigenous to the Upper-Tigris riversides, especially on the century-old mulberry trees. She envisages “Eco-redaction” as an aesthetic finetuning that aims to provoke questions and create uncanny feelings regarding massacre scenes and complicity within the context of the Turkish State’s present-day denial of genocide and ongoing war against Kurds. At times tacking on to Jumanna Manna’s film Foragers screened at KIRIK, the talk investigates an anarchic archive consisting of resilient lives brought into leaf by a nature torn apart by violence, and the political imaginations this archive can lend a hand to. 

Umut Yıldırım is an anthropologist and assistant professor at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the Geneva Graduate Institute. She previously worked as a researcher at UCLA, Freie Universität Berlin and ICI Berlin, and taught courses at Boğaziçi, Sabancı and Bilgi Universities. Turkey’s spiral of political violence is at the center of her works which focus on the intricate relations that transnational development programs and expert networks form at the local level, and political, ecological and emotional resistance practices shaped by war. Her research is available on platforms such as Jadaliyya, Current Anthropology, and Anthropological Theory. Her book titled War-torn Ecologies, An-archic Fragments: Reflections from the Middle East, which she created by bringing together a small team of artists and ethnographers will be published by ICI Press Berlin this fall. She is currently busy writing a book based on her dissertation centering on Diyarbakır which she finished at Cambridge University.