The Bilkent University Seminar Series – Polity, Society and the World – cordially invites you to the talk by Prof. Christopher Dole (Amherst College) “Optimism in the Anthropocene: Loss and Livable Futures in Post-Disaster Turkey”. The talk will take place on March 14, 2018 (Wednesday) at 15:40 in the C-Block Auditorium (FEASS).
This talk explores the affective and political remains of the 1999 Marmara earthquakes. Based on extended ethnographic research with survivors of the earthquakes and a group of Turkish mental health professionals who provided humanitarian psychiatric care in the wake of the disaster, this talk examines long-term experiences of grief among earthquake survivors and the challenge these experiences pose for thinking about the relationship between loss and the passing of time. Drawing on the writings of Abû Hâmid al-Ghazâlî, the talk traces a set of distinctive relationships between loss and the building of livable futures – between subjectivity and temporality – that emerged in interviews, a relationship characterized in terms of optimism. In so doing, the talk raises questions about how such a formulation of optimism might provide clues for anticipating the sorts of subjectivities, politics, and affective lives to come in the “attritional lethality” of environmental crisis.
Chris Dole is a medical anthropologist whose research and writing explores the intersection of suffering, healing, and politics. His particular research interests engage a range of conceptual and empirical problems that draw on his longstanding interest in religious and psychiatric forms of therapeutic care, subjectivity and the intimacies of political economy, the production and distribution of vulnerabilities, and ethnographic and literary accounts of human flourishing. Professor Dole teaches courses that reflect his background in medical anthropology and the Middle East, including “Medical Anthropology,” “Culture, Affect, and Psychiatry,” “The Social Life of Catastrophe,” “Anthropology and the Middle East,” and “Istanbul.” Professor Dole completed his PhD at Case Western Reserve University and received postdoctoral training in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. He has conducted research exploring the intersection of religious healing and secularism in Turkey and the psychological impact of counter-terrorism surveillance within Boston’s Arab Muslim communities. His publications include Healing Secular Life: Loss and Devotion in Modern Turkey (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), The Time of Catastrophe (co-editor, Routledge, 2015), and articles that have appeared in the American Anthropologist; International Journal of Middle East Studies; Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry; Ethos; and International Migration and Human Rights. He is currently working on a project concerned with humanitarian psychiatry and the affective remains of catastrophe in Turkey.