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Exile and plurality in neoliberal times: Turkey's Academics for Peace

Özdemir, Seçkin Sertdemir, Mutluer, Nil and Özyürek, Esra (2019) Exile and plurality in neoliberal times: Turkey's Academics for Peace. Public Culture, 31 (2). pp. 235-259. ISSN 0899-2363

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Identification Number: 10.1215/08992363-7286801


Today thousands of academics from Turkey, along with others from Syria, Iran, and Egypt are deserting their homeland in search of intellectual refuge in Western countries. These exiled academics have been attempting to practice diverse forms of teaching and researching, both in Turkey and in exile. We argue that the struggles of oppositional academics inside and outside Turkey today offer insight into the nature of the global crisis in neoliberal academia based on precarious working conditions of knowledge producers and commodification of education. Some of the answers to this crisis may lie, as they did in the 1930s and 1940s, in the hands of those same persecuted scholars who bring with them academic perspectives forged in oppressive regimes. In a short period of time Academics for Peace accomplished two goals. They have resisted through peaceful, anti-violent civil disobedience the political pressure brought to bear upon them by the increasingly authoritarian Turkish government, daring to demand and then create a new, more plural public Turkish space. Second, they have dared, even in the face of academic and civic precariousness, to take a critical stance toward the marketization and hierarchization of Turkish and European universities and in response to forge new autonomous ways of teaching and researching in their home and host countries. An approach that goes beyond humanitarianizing the sup-port given to dissident academics has the potential to pluralize academy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 Duke University Press
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2018 17:09
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2023 04:21

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