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Michael Ferguson


Under Fire: Translating the Growing Crisis in the Kurdish Cities of Turkey’s Southeast

Scene of destruction after a curfew in Nusaybin, 26 November 2015. Image provided by the author.

Turkey’s sokağa çıkma yasağı is being mistranslated, with serious consequences. Turkey’s decades-long conflict with Kurdish militants and its unresolved inclusion of Kurds into greater Turkish society has in recent months reached a new and violent phase. The current encounter, largely between Turkish state forces and a new urban youth group, the YDG-H (Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement; Tevgera Ciwanen Welatparêz Yên Şoreşger) affiliated with the outlawed PKK ...

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White Turks, Black Turks, and Negroes: The Politics of Polarization

[Photo of Mustafa Olpak. Image via the author.]

On 11 June, in the midst of the return of the Istanbul police forces to Gezi Park and Taksim Square, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rose in the Turkish parliament and expressed his frustrations with the protestors occupying the park. The protests began as an effort to save one of Istanbul’s last green spaces from being flattened to make room for a shopping mall, but subsequently transformed into a greater movement against excessive use of force by the police and ...

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Michael Ferguson



Michael Ferguson is a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. In 2014, he completed PhD dissertation at McGill University entitled “The African Presence in Izmir in the Late Ottoman Period and Beyond.” His work focuses broadly on minorities, identity, and constructions of race in the late Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. His publications include: "Enslaved and Emancipated Africans on Crete," in Terence Walz and Kenneth M. Cuno, eds., Race and Slavery in the Middle East: Histories of Trans-Saharan Africans in Nineteenth-Century Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman Mediterranean (The American University in Cairo Press, 2010); “White Turks, Black Turks, and Negroes: the Politics of Polarization” in Umut Özkırımlı and Spyros Sofos, eds., Occupy Gezi: The Making of a Protest Movement, (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014); and “Abolitionism and the African Slave Trade in the Ottoman Empire (1857-1922)” in Gwyn Campbell and Alessandro Stanziani, eds., Human Rights in Afro-Eurasia from the Seventeenth Century to the Present, Vol.1, The Longue Durée of Bondage in Afro-Eurasia, 1600-1900, (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). [Forthcoming]. His website can be found here.