Turkish Studies

2017 Conference: Law and Politics in Turkey


Law & Politics in Turkey
Reform, Authority and Emergency

Buffett Institute for Global Studies
Northwestern University

October 26-28, 2017
Abstract Deadline: June 1, 2017

Turkey witnessed fundamental legal changes in the last two decades. Few aspects of the law were left untouched by reform packages enacted in the name of IMF conditionality, EU harmonization, or democratization. In addition to the changing laws and regulations, a series of institutional changes aimed to achieve a more efficient, transparent, democratic and accessible judicial system. All the reform waves, however, have ended in a spiral of authoritarianism, and eventually a dragging state of emergency. How did Turkey get here? 

Answering this question requires scholars to (re)conceptualize the relationship between law and politics at this historic juncture. This conference undertakes this challenging task and intends to trace the twisted path from reform to emergency. While we are interested in exploring the disintegration of the rule of law in the current moment, we would particularly like to untangle genealogies and everyday manifestations of reform, authority and emergency in legal spaces. More specifically, we would like to ask:

  • How are legal reforms formulated, translated, and imagined at various levels of legal and state bureaucracy?
  • How is authority understood and practiced in the courthouses and police stations?
  • Do discourses of emergency blur the boundary between legal and extralegal?
  • How does political authority reproduce itself through law and reform?
  • What are some of the institutional, social, economic and ecologic limits of, and resistance to the mechanisms carved out against such authority?

We welcome empirically informed papers in the following areas: economic regulations and legal institutions in Turkish economy; urban, rural, and environmental regulations and disputes; gender inequality and gender based violence; legal ethnography and ethnographies of the state; human rights, freedom of expression, and police impunity. 

The Keyman Program will be able to provide travel grants for participants. Please send your paper abstract of 350-450 words to turkishstudies@northwestern.edu by June 1, 2017.