In 2017, Off-University. Organisation für den Frieden e.V. was founded in response to the dismissal and forced resignment of hundreds of Peace Academics from their university positions in Turkey. One of its first activities was to hold a conference that posed tough questions about peace . As such, it featured presentations that explored the existence of war, possibilities of peace and the necessity of peace, and gave space to different voices for peace.
Picking up on Off-University's very founding theme, this project funded by Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation seeks to further explore ideas and practices in the field of Critical Peace Studies in Turkey. What do we mean by "critical"? How can we value different kinds of knowledge and work towards de-centering traditional perspectives on peace and conflict in Turkey? What should a future critical peace research agenda look like?
Throughout the year, a total of seven researchers will contribute to answering these questions and posing new ones in different ways: a working paper will explore the existing landscape of Critical Peace Studies in Turkey. A blog series will focus on gendered aspects of peace & war. An online lab will engage with non-human aspects of peace & war in Turkey and last but not least, a podcast series will shed its light on critical approaches to conflict resolution in Turkey. Hence, in their own ways, all these activities will help to engage with the existing realities of Critical Peace Studies in Turkey while at the same time formulating visions for the future.
The work of vision-making has already begun by the contributing researchers as part of their proposals. Below are some excerpts from their answers to the question: What is your vision for critical peace research on/in Turkey? Off-University is curious to see these answers change, grow and reinforce themselves during the course of the year. To keep up-to-date, please visit this page regularly or follow our newsletter.
Visions for Critical Peace Studies in Turkey:
"My vision for Critical Peace Studies in Turkey is to contribute to the work of peace building especially with regards to the Kurdish issue. [...] Furthermore, I would like to form a part of studies in the field of Critical Peace Studies that focus on gender equality and contribute to the literature in this area." (Ferda Fahrioğlu-Akın)
"If you look at civil society work in Turkey in the aftermath of 1990, there are two areas that carry potential for overcoming societal rifts and contributing to peacebuilding: studies that focus on gender and human rights. Both of these fields are united by a remarkable asset: they have been at the center of attempts to overcome "political locations". Studying the societal mobilization in these two fields from a critical academic perspective and producing knowledge about them can make an important contribution to solving the Kurdish conflict and peacebuilding." (Cuma Çiçek)
"For us, Critical Peace Studies, as a part of struggle against the violations of states, have to focus on the invisible aspects of conflicts mostly underestimated by the mainstream interrelational and political relations. The invisible here, made invisible is which experiences people exposed to war and violence have accumulated, which, how and in what ways survival and struggle strategies they have developed, and which alternative voices/movements/spaces they have created despite the pressure of the state." (Meral Akbaş & Özge Kelekçi)
* Sponsored by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany. This publication or parts of it can be used by others for free as long as they provide a proper reference to the original publication. The content of the publication is the sole responsibility of Off-University. Organisation für den Frieden e.V. and does not necessarily reflect a position of RLS.