March 27, 2019 - 12:00 pm



Koc University Rumelifeneri Campus, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, SOS143   View map

MiReKoc Seminar Series of Spring 2019 continues with Şule Can’s presentation on “Urban Encounters at the Margins: Ethnicity, Religion and Syrian Refugees in Antakya”. The presentation and discussion will take place on Wednesday, March 27th, 2019, at 12:00, in SOS143. Registration is required for participants not affiliated with Koç University.

Title: Urban Encounters at the Margins: Ethnicity, Religion and Syrian Refugees in Antakya 

Abstract: Antakya is a biblical city renowned for its culture of “living together” and as “cradle of civilizations” at the crossroads of Syria and Turkey. After the Syrian Crisis, Turkish-Syrian borderlands host almost half of the Syrian refugees in Turkey and some of the cities are entrenched with the sectarian tensions due to ideological and political polarization. This ethnographic study focuses on the production of difference and negotiations of ethnicity, religion and state after the influx of Syrian refugees into Turkey following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. It specifically analyzes how Turkish-Syrian border was transformed into a transition zone where hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and local ethno-religious groups negotiate their encounters with the Turkish state and with each other in the border city of Antakya (the province of Hatay). Finally, it examines the ways in which Syrian refugees struggle for employment and social inclusion and strive to “live together” with the local Antiochians despite the tensions in this multi-cultural city.

Short-Bio: Şule Can is currently a part-time faculty member at Bogazici and Nisantasi University. She received her PhD degree in Socio-cultural Anthropology at the State University of New York at Binghamton. She received her BA in English Language Teaching and Literature from Istanbul and Cologne, Germany and her MA in Cultural Studies from Istanbul Bilgi University. Can is the recipient of a Fulbright doctoral scholarship, the Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant and Excellence in Research Award. She has published various articles in English and Turkish, but is best known for her article “The Syrian Civil War, Sectarianism and Political Change at the Turkish-Syrian Border”. She is one of the founders and the academic chair of the Research Institute for the Middle Eastern Arab Peoples in Antakya. Can’s research interests go beyond the academic endeavors, as she works with non-governmental organizations utilizing her research to advocate migrant rights in the global context.