Northwestern Events Calendar


MENA Monday. Kabir Tambar: Truth-telling and the Critique of Violence

When: Monday, May 16, 2016
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CT

Where: University Hall, Room 201, 1897 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Lexy Gore   (847) 467-5314

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Co-Sponsor: Keyman Modern Turkish Studies (Northwestern Buffett)
Global Politics and Religion Research Group

Category: Lectures & Meetings


This paper looks at efforts by a largely Kurdish mothers-of-the-disappeared group (the Saturday Mothers) to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. The Saturday Mothers more commonly remember enforced disappearances that took place in the 1980s and 1990s, often in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority provinces. The group invokes familiar tropes of a-political motherhood but in ways that are meant to estrange audiences from the statist narratives that more commonly orchestrate the division between the political and the non-political. Exploring how these gatherings are repurposed to commemorate the Armenian Genocide, I argue that the Mothers mobilize the “a-political” to uncanny effect. They establish temporal imaginaries inconsonant with notions of national progress and constitute the disappeared and the exterminated as demanding ethical interlocutors of the present.

Kabir Tambar is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. He was also a member in the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 2011-2012. His work has explored questions of citizenship, religion, and the politics of history, with a regional focus on Turkey. This research led to the publication of a book, The Reckoning of Pluralism: Political Belonging and the Demands of History in Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2014). Tambar has also begun new research on the imagined pasts and futures that inform critiques of state violence.


Tambar's visit is co-sponsored by the Global Politics and Religion Research Group of the Buffett Institute and the Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Program.

Add to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in