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Fourth lecture in the ACMES lecture series "Race, racism and racialisation in the Middle East and Europe". Speaker: Dr. Deniz Yonucu (Technische Universität Berlin). Discussant: Dr. Beste Isleyen (University of Amsterdam).

Event details of Policing and Resistance in the Racialized Urban Spaces of Istanbul
Date 22 April 2021
Time 17:00 -18:30
Photo: courtesy of Sinan Targey

In this talk, Dr. Deniz Yonucu tackles various forms of police violence in the working-class spaces of Istanbul inhabited by Turkey’s Alevi and Kurdish populations. In her research Yonucu approaches racialized police violence in these urban spaces as violent interpellations, which she defines as calls to a specific subject position and a specific identification made through performative acts of state or state-backed violence. In the first part of the talk Yonucu will illustrate how police violence serves to associate Alevis and Kurds with racialized particulars rather than human universals and hail them as killable subjects. In the second part of the talk, focusing on ongoing left-wing Kurdish and Alevi resistance in Turkey, Yonucu will elaborate on the radical refusal to be docile and complicit despite the likelihood of heavy punishments. To understand how police violence does not always manage to push resistance off the stage into Scottian forms of covert resistance, Yonucu suggests that we should take into account the agentive effect that the (martyred) dead have on the living. 

Dr. Deniz Yonucu received her PhD in Social Anthropology from Cornell University and is currently an Einstein Research Fellow in the Center for Technology and Society at the Technical University of Berlin and at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin. Her work focuses on urban violence, crime, counterinsurgency and policing, sectarianism, and human rights. Her first book, Police, Provocation, Politics: Counterinsurgency in Istanbul will be published by Cornell University Press in 2021. Yonucu’s research was funded by various institutions including the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the British Council’s Newton Fund, and the DAAD. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Current Anthropology, IJURR, Social & Legal Studies and the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, among others. She has also published various op-ed articles related to her area of research on openDemocracy, Jadaliyya, PoLAR Forum and beyond. In September, she will join Newcastle University’s Sociology Department as a Lecturer in Sociology of Crime.

This lecture will take place online via Zoom. If you want to attend, please register by sending an email to


ACMES Spring Lecture Series

The series Race, racism and racialisation in the Middle East and Europe is inspired by the global Black Lives Matter protest movement. The various lectures explore the complexities of race, racism and racialisation, their intersections with other inequalities, and emerging spaces of resistance and solidarity.

4 March 2021, 5 PM
Dr. Rachel Schine, University of Colorado
Race-making in Early Arabic Fiction

25 March 2021, 5 PM
Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University
Black-Palestinian Solidarity

8 April 2021, 5 PM
Dr. Sarah Bracke, University of Amsterdam
Europe’s ‘Muslim Question’: A Biopolitical Approach  

22 April 2021, 5 PM
Dr. Deniz Yonucu, Technische Universität Berlin
Policing and Resistance in the Racialized Urban Spaces of Istanbul

20 May 2021, 5 PM
Annual ACMES lecture
Prof. Amade M’charek, UvA
Beach Encounters and Forensic Evidence: Migrant Death, Colonial Currents and the Art of Paying Attention