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Faculty of Divinity



I am a social anthropologist and holder of a Newton International Fellowship awarded by the British Academy. I hold a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and was Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Research Group at Ghent University, Belgium, before coming to Cambridge. In May 2021 I will deliver the Evans-Pritchard Lectures at All Souls College, Oxford.


My research focuses on the impact of state violence on intimate and gendered lives, the politics of death and the afterlife, and the intersections of affect and politics. I specialize in the anthropology of the Kurdish regions and modern Turkey.


Key publications: 

Journal articles

2020. “Walking a Fine Line: Loyalty, Betrayal and the Moral and Gendered Bargains of Resistance.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 40(1): 119-132.

2020. With Esin Düzel. “Introduction: Between Loyalty and Critique: Gender, Morality, Militancy.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 40(1): 115-118.

2019. “Archived Voices, Acoustic Traces and the Reverberations of Kurdish History in Modern Turkey.” Comparative Studies of Society and History 61(2): 447-473.

2018. “‘It Used to Be Forbidden’: Kurdish Women and the Limits of Gaining Voice.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 14(1): 3-24.

2017. “Voice.” Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology.

2017. “Writing Against Loss: Kurdish Women, Subaltern Authorship, and the Politics of Voice in Contemporary Turkey.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 23(3): 543-561.

2016. “Ruined Futures: Managing Instability in Post-Earthquake Van (Turkey).” Social Anthropology 24(2): 228-242.

2015. “Being Sick of Politics: The Production of Dengbêjî as Kurdish Cultural Heritage in Contemporary Turkey.” European Journal of Turkish Studies 20.


Online publications

2020. Afterlives. A thematic thread on Allegra Lab.

2017. With Brecht Neven. “Jineology: from women’s struggle to social liberation.” Interview with Necîbe Qeredaxî. ROAR Magazine. (Translated into French, Spanish, Turkish, German, Dutch)


Book chapters

2019. “Tracing Connections: Kurdish Women Singers and the Ambiguities of Owning Oral Tradition.” In Diversity and Contact Among Singer-Poet Traditions in Eastern Anatolia edited by Martin Greve, Wendelmoet Hamelink and Ulaş Özdemir, 77-93. Baden-Baden: Ergon.

2018. “Troubled Terrain: Lines of Allegiance and Political Belonging in Northern Kurdistan.” In Methodological Approaches in Kurdish Studies: Theoretical and Practical Insights from the Field edited by Bahar Baser, Begüm Zorlu and Yasin Duman, 69-83. Lanham: Lexington Books.

2014. With Aylin Çelik. “2011 Van Depremi: Bir mücadele alanı olarak ‘yardım’ (The 2011 Van Earthquake: ‘Aid’ as a field of contestation).” In Sınır Bilgisi: Siyasal İktidar, Toplumsal Mekan ve Kadına Yönelik Şiddet (Boundary Knowledge: Political Power, Social Space and Violence against Women) edited by Elif Çelebi, Didem Havlioğlu and Ebru Kayaalp. Istanbul: Ayizi.

British Academy Newton International Fellow
Dr  Marlene  Schäfers
Not available for consultancy




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