Northwestern Events Calendar


Faculty & Fellows Lecture Series: Deniz Duruiz, "The Making of Turkey's Mobile Labor Force: From Kurds to Syrian Refugees"

When: Friday, January 24, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: 1800 Sherman Avenue, Suite 3-000, Buffett Event Space, Evanston, IL 60201 map it

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

Contact: Dylan Peterson   847.467.2770

Group: Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Co-Sponsor: Keyman Modern Turkish Studies (Northwestern Buffett)

Category: Global & Civic Engagement


Turkey’s agricultural labor force was predominantly composed of migrant workers from the Kurdish region of Turkey until 2011. Increasingly, since the beginning of the Syrian War, Syrian refugee families have also joined this mobile labor force. This talk will analyze how mechanisms of governing social difference and preserving social inequality structure migration patterns and labor processes of workers from the Kurdish region. It will argue that these mechanisms transformed the dispossessed population of the Kurdish region (including children, the elderly, and others unfit for physically and mentally strenuous labor) into an efficient, disciplined, and well-organized labor force. Finally, it will explore how such mechanisms have been used to transmit this migrant labor practice from one population – dispossessed and displaced en masse with their families due to political violence – to another – namely, from the Kurds of Turkey to Syrian refugees.

Deniz Duruiz is the Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. She received her PhD in anthropology from Columbia University. For her doctoral dissertation, she conducted ethnographic research with Kurdish migrant farmworkers and Syrian refugees, both in the Kurdish region and at twelve different worksites in western Turkey. She is currently working on her book project, which examines political violence in the Kurdish region and the resulting racialized and regionally divided class formation in Turkey through this migrant labor practice. Her postdoctoral research explores the Syrian experience of migration to Europe with a focus on labor both as a category of political economy and as an embodied everyday practice. 

The Northwestern Buffett Faculty & Fellows Lecture Series brings together an interdisciplinary audience to build awareness of global research on campus. This series promotes dialogue on scholarship and develops a deeper sense of community among Buffett Institute affiliates. Each meeting lasts one hour; lunch is provided.

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