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Voices That Matter – Kurdish Women at the Limits of Representation in Contemporary Turkey, Marlene Schäfers

Februar 1, 2023 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm

Invitation to an online Book Launch

Voices That Matter – Kurdish Women at the Limits of Representation in Contemporary Turkey, Marlene Schäfers

Dr. Marlene Schäfers
assistant professor in cultural anthropology at Utrecht University

in conversation with

Dr. Argun Çakır
anthropologist and ethnomusicologist, University of Bristol


Dr. habil. Martin Greve
Ethnomusicologist, Orient-Institut Istanbul

Wednesday, 1 February 2023, 19:00 (Turkish time, GMT +3)


“Raise your voice!” and “Speak up!” are familiar refrains that assume, all too easily, that gaining voice will lead to empowerment, healing, and inclusion for marginalized subjects. Marlene Schäfers’s Voices That Matter reveals where such assumptions fall short, demonstrating that “raising one’s voice” is no straightforward path to emancipation but fraught with anxieties, dilemmas, and contradictions. In its attention to the voice as form, this book examines not only what voices say but also how they do so, focusing on Kurdish contexts where oral genres have a long, rich legacy. Examining the social labor that voices carry out as they sound, speak, and resonate, Schäfers shows that where new vocal practices arise, they produce new selves and practices of social relations. In Turkey, recent decades have seen Kurdish voices gain increasing moral and political value as metaphors of representation and resistance. Women’s voices, in particular, are understood as potent means to withstand patriarchal restrictions and political oppression. By ethnographically tracing the transformations in how Kurdish women relate to and employ their voices as a result of these shifts, Schäfers illustrates how contemporary politics foster not only new hopes and desires but also create novel vulnerabilities as they valorize, elicit, and discipline voice in the name of empowerment and liberation.


Marlene Schäfers is Assistant Professor in Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University. Her research focuses on the impact of state violence on intimate and gendered lives, the politics of death and the afterlife, and the intersections of affect and politics. She specializes in the anthropology of the Kurdish regions and modern Turkey. She obtained her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2015. Before coming to Utrecht, she held a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship at Ghent University (2016-2019), an FWO Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship at the same institution (2019-2020), and a British Academy Newton International Fellowship at the University of Cambridge (2020-2021).


Februar 1, 2023
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Andrea Selimoğlu
+90 – 212 293 60 67
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Orient-Institut Istanbul
Şahkulu Mah., Galip Dede Cad. No. 65
Beyoğlu, İstanbul 34421 Turkey
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+90 212 293 60 67
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