Through its fellowship program, Research Institute on Turkey aims to annually support a researcher that prioritizes human rights and freedom of thought through their work from a pluralistic and egalitarian perspective. Each year a research, an art project, a documentary, an archival work, a form of activism or a scientific work will be selected for the program. A selection committee from diverse disciplines will select a project or a researcher whose main focus will be within the fields of social and political history of Turkey, financialization, collective memory, right to the city, commons and commonized practices and academic freedom. We expect the project to raise awareness around these issues, open a platform for critical thinking and offer a unique and novel perspective regarding human rights advocacy.
RIT Fellowship program seeks to support at-risk projects that require extraordinary efforts to produce under the current political climate and shrinking civil space in Turkey. In addition, the Program engages in public outreach events to publicize the projects and support the researchers in their practices of critical knowledge production.
Towards this goal, the Program will provide the following:
-To offer platforms in New York City for open discussions, screenings, panels for the fellow and their work
-To provide networking opportunities with international institutes or associations depending on the associated field
-To financially support international travel and accommodation
Fellowship is available to researchers, artists, academics or all those who are currently in Turkey and work on projects on Turkey in the fields of financialization, collective memory, right to the city, commons and commonized practices and academic freedom.
RIT Fellowship 2021 application for nominations will be open in June 2020.
Esra Akcan is currently the 2019-2020 Frieda Miller Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture and the Director of Institute for European Studies at Cornell University. Akcan received awards and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University, Graham Foundation, American Academy in Berlin, UIC, Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin, Clark Institute, Getty Research Institute, Canadian Center for Architecture, CAA, Mellon Foundation, DAAD and KRESS/ARIT. She is the author of Landfill Istanbul: Twelve Scenarios for a Global City (2004); Çeviride Modern Olan (2009); Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey and the Modern House (2012); Turkey: Modern Architectures in History (with S. Bozdoğan, 2012), and Open Architecture: Migration, Citizenship and Urban Renewal of Berlin-Kreuzberg by IBA 1984/87 (2018).
Akcan’s research on modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism foregrounds the intertwined histories of Europe and West Asia, and offers new ways to understand architecture’s global movement, as well as its complicit or constitutive role in global and social (in)justice. She completed her architecture degree at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey, and her Ph.D. and postdoctoral degrees at Columbia University in New York. Before coming to Cornell, she taught at UI-Chicago, Humboldt University in Berlin, Columbia University, New School, and Pratt Institute in New York, and METU in Ankara. As a scholar, she has published five books in two languages, guest edited three journal issues, and written around hundred-and-fifty articles and essays in multiple languages on critical and postcolonial theory, modern and contemporary architecture in West Asia and its diasporas in Europe, architectural photography, immigration, translation, globalization and global history.
Akcan’s book Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey and the Modern House advocates a commitment to a new culture of translatability from below and in multiple directions for truly cosmopolitan ethics and global justice. Her book Turkey: Modern Architectures in History (with Sibel Bozdoğan) is part of a series that aims at an inclusive survey of modern world architecture and is the first volume in any language to cover the entire 20th century in Turkey. Akcan’s new book Open Architecture: Migration, Citizenship and the Urban Renewal of Berlin-Kreuzberg defines open architecture as the translation of a new ethics of hospitality into design process. It exemplifies different inclinations towards open architecture (or the lack thereof) during the urban renewal of Berlin’s immigrant neighborhood, by giving voice not only to the established and cutting edge architects who were invited to build public housing here, but also to noncitizen residents. She has participated in exhibitions as an artist by carrying her research beyond writing to visual media.
Işın Önol (1977, Turkey) is a curator based in Vienna and New York. Since September 2018, she has been working as a visiting lecturer at Montclair State University department of Arts & Design. In 2017-18 Önol worked as a guest critic at the Arts & Design MFA program at Montclair University, New Jersey. In 2016-17, she worked as a visiting curator and critic at the Social Design – Art as Urban Innovation MA Program at University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria. In 2014-15 Önol worked as a guest lecturer at the Department of Digital Art at University of Applied Arts. Besides regular teaching appointments, she gave number of lectures at School of Visual Arts, NY; New York University, NY; Parson School of Arts and Columbia University as well as various programs at Vienna University of Applied Arts, Austria. She is a member of Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University, NewYork.
Önol is an enthusiast producer of exhibition projects, talks, other art-related events as well as being an academic working in the field of contemporary art and cultural studies. Besides teaching, she has been working as an independent curator in Vienna, New York and Istanbul since 2009. Before that, she led the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art as its director and curator in Istanbul for three years. (2006-2009) She is the founder and program coordinator of Nesin Art Village, Sirince, Turkey. Isin Önol has been elected to the Board of Directors of Roberto Cimetta Fund for the period 2018-2021.
Önol is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Cultural Studies, University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria. She has completed her Master of Advance Studies on Curating at ZHdK, Zürcher Hochschule der Kunst, Zürich, Switzerland (2009-2011). She participated to Ecole du Magasin, International Curatorial Training Programme, Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France and Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course, Gwangju, South Korea (2009). She received her MFA in Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design from Sabanci University (2003), and her BA in Art Education from Marmara University (2000), Istanbul, Turkey.
Aylin Tekiner is a New York / Istanbul based visual artist, writer, and activist. She received her PhD in Cultural studies at Ankara University in Turkey in 2008. Her book “Ataturk Statues: Cult, Aesthetics, and Politics” is published by Iletisim Yayinlari in Turkey in 2010. In her book, she describes the political landscape of the Ataturk statues during modern Turkey. Her artwork is focused on forgotten and unspeakable tragedies, trauma, and tolerance, and her work empowers the voiceless and confronts the ruling power. Aylin had solo shows and participated in group exhibitions throughout Turkey and abroad. During her post-doc at Yale University School of Drama in 2015, she wrote and performed an autobiographical play that uses shadow theatre technique that incorporates new multi-media technology. Aylin has been working on a graphic novel of the play as well. She is a member of Collective Memory Platform, which was formed by the families of 28 victims of the political murders in modern Turkey, an active member of the Research Institute on Turkey (RIT), and Center for The Study of Social Difference at Columbia University.
Simten Coşar received her Ph.D in political science from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey (1997). She has been specialized in political thought. Dr. Coşar has published in English and Turkish on Turkish politics, feminist politics, and political thought. She was a Fulbright scholar at the Northern Michigan University, in a collaborative academic research with the late Professor Louise Bourgault. In the English-speaking and reading world, she is the co-editor of Universities in the Neoliberal Era: Academic Cultures and Critical Perspectives (UK: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017) (with Hakan Ergül), and Silent Violence: Neoliberalism, Islamist Politics and the AKP Years in Turkey (Canada: Red Quill Books, 2012) (with Gamze Yücesan-Özdemir). Dr. Coşar has also involved in translation works of prominent academic texts in social sciences from Turkish to English, and from English to Turkish. Most recently, she edited and translated Handan Çağlayan’s seminal work in Turkish on Kurdish women’s political activism (Women in Kurdish Movement: Mothers, Comrades, Goddesses, Palgrave MacMillan, 2019). Her articles in English were published in Contemporary Politics, Monthly Review, Feminist Review, Journal of Third World Studies, Journal of Mediterranean Studies, South European Society and Politics, Alternate Routes and Journal of Political Ideologies. Dr. Coşar conducted field research on feminist interventions in and through neoliberal academia in Turkey, and as a visiting scholar at UMass, Amherst and Carleton University, Ottawa (ON, Canada). Through the early 2000s, Dr. Coşar has been briefly involved in feminist organizations as an academic, participating in training courses, acting as executive committee member, and/or member in board of advisors. She defines herself as a feminist political scientist.
Eylem Delikanlı is a founding coop member and a feminist oral historian at the Research Institute on Turkey (RIT). She runs the Collective Memory Working Group and human rights advocacy program at RIT. She holds an MA in Sociology (City University NY) and an MA in Oral History (Columbia University). She is the co-author of two oral history books on the 1980 Coup D’État: Keşke Bir Öpüp Koklasaydım (with Ozlem Delikanli in Turkish, Istanbul: Ayrıntı Yayınları, September 2013) and Hiçbir Şey Aynı Olmayacak (with Ozlem Delikanli in Turkish, Istanbul: Ayrıntı Yayınları, November 2019). As an oral historian, Eylem’s work focuses on theories of post memory, collective memory, silence, mass violence and trauma. She continued her research as an ISHR fellow at the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability Fellowship Program at Columbia University and at Truth, Justice and Remembrance program at Bosch Stiftung. She is a member of feminist organizations and Çocuklarız Bir Aradayız initiative – a group working towards building a collective memory of 1980 Coup D’État in Turkey.
Erdem Helvacıoğlu is a renowned Turkish electroacoustic, film music composer, sound designer and music producer, currently residing in New York.
He has scored over 20 feature documentaries, narrative and short films. His film music has been heard at international film festivals such as Toronto, Karlovy Vary, Cannes, Berlin, Palm Springs, Rotterdam, Locarno, Istanbul. For his electroacoustic music works, Helvacıoğlu has received awards from the Luigi Russolo, MUSICA NOVA and Insulae Electronicae Electroacoustic Music competitions. His solo and duo albums have been released by prestigious record labels such as New Albion, Sub Rosa, Innova.
Çağhan Kızıl is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience in Helmholtz Association, Germany. He obtained his B.Sc. from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey; M.Sc. from University of Göttingen, and Ph.D from Max Planck Institute Tübingen, Germany. His research is aiming at understanding the regenerative and developmental programs of neural stem cells in zebrafish to induce a successful proliferation-differentiation-development cascade for neurons in human brains, and harnessing this knowledge for designing stem cell-based therapies to cure Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Besides his scientific publications, Çağhan also writes about academic freedom both in Turkey and abroad. He is an active member of the Research Institute on Turkey (RIT)
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A: The aim of this emergency fund is to raise an amount that is equivalent of 6 month-long minimum wage for 35 academics. The distribution of this fund will be left to local unions and associations which are already assisting the purged academics in a transparent manner. Local institutions distributes funds to as many scholars as possible based on their internal assessment of need. If we are able to raise our targeted amount, we hope to continue this campaign in waves to reach a larger number of purged academics of peace.
A: The organizers of this campaign are Research Institute on Turkey, Bostonbul, GIT North America and concerned academics in the US and Canada.
RIT is an independent non-profit organization registered in New York State.
A:The crowdsourcing campaign is organized in solidarity with the Academics for Peace, the recipients of the 2016 Middle Eastern Studies Association Academic Freedom Prize and the 2016 Aachen Peace Prize. Their collective struggle to preserve human rights (widely ranging from the very basic right to live to the right of representation, from the right to education to academic freedom) and professional dignity is “representative of the broader struggle of those academics worldwide who strive to promote peace, justice and academic freedom through their research, writing and advocacy. This campaign has a particular goal of helping professors and researchers that have been targeted solely because they have exercised their right to free speech by signing a petition. Most of these academics, who are invaluable to training future generations and advancing sciences, do not have other means of income while they continue legal proceedings to regain their positions at their universities.
A: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The organizers will get back to you as soon as possible.
Academics for Peace is a group of academics, mainly concerned with the escalation of the conflict between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the PKK in Eastern Turkey, and in the scale of violence against civilian population in the region that has always been part of the same conflict. The group was formed by the pro-peace academics in 2012.
The Peace Declaration was a statement by the Academics for Peace against the escalation of violence against the Kurdish civilians in the Eastern part of Turkey, due to the rising tension in the conflict between the TAF and the PKK from July 2015 onwards. The Academics for Peace targeted to raise public awareness by directly calling on the Turkish government to take initiative to end the violence. The Declaration, entitled “We Will Not Be A Party To This Crime” (Bu Suça Ortak Olmayacağız) was opened for signature among the academics at national and international levels, and received widespread support at both levels. It was signed by 1128 academics worldwide.
The Peace Declaration was shared with the general public through a press conference on January 11, 2016. From this date on rights violations against signatories have begun.
The rights violations against “Academics for Peace” employed in private and public universities are listed below
Certainly not! The original group of the Academics for Peace was composed of about 200 academics in Turkey. As of January 11, 2016, 1128 academics signed the Peace Declaration. From then on the rapid and persistent governmental measures taken against the signatories blurred the boundaries of the group. But in the general and widest sense all the signatories are now referred to as the Academics for Peace or as the academics asking for peace in the country.
Of course there were withdrawals due to the immediate and ever-increasing violation of rights of the academics after the Peace Declaration went public. Some signatories could not stand the rapid and rather harsh pressures by their universities; some could not stand the threats to their lives both on the campuses and in any sphere of their everyday life.
Despite the withdrawals of signatures and never-ending and ever-increasing pressures, harassment, assaults on the signatory academics the number of the academics who signed the Peace Declaration increased to 2212 by the end of January 2016.
No, there is no organization, which might be said to represent the academics, who signed the Peace Declaration.
No, the academics, who signed the Peace Declaration do not support any terrorist organization.
No, the academics, who signed the Peace Declaration do not have to encounter and endure the violation of academic rights and freedom on an individual basis. They are supported by the Education Union Workers (EĞİTİM-SEN), as well as some other academic and/or research organizations at national and international levels.
The supports at the national level are for the time being extended mainly in legal and financial terms—certainly insufficient, considering the persistent dismissals, suspensions and bans from public duty.
The supports at the international level are basically through Scholars At Risk (SAR) and Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF), as well as through individual efforts of universities abroad for temporary research and teaching positions. Moreover, many international academic and human rights organizations, including but not limited to the Middle East Studies Association, European Association for Middle East Studies, International Association for Media and Communication Research, International Association for Feminist Economics, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, European Trade Union Committee for Education have expressed their support to the Academics for Peace through press releases. More information about international support can be found here: http://
No, the academics, who signed the Peace Declaration cannot be categorized as PKK sympathizers.
No, the academics, who signed the Peace Declaration are not sympathizers/followers and/or members of the (Fethullah) Gülen movement.
The only common political stance that the academics, who signed the Peace Declaration share is that they opt for peace in Turkey. Otherwise, they differ in terms of their political stance extending from leftists, to feminists, and to liberal-democrats. But the leftists and feminists make up the majority of the signatory academics.
A lot can be done.
Some possible forms of support are listed by Chad Kautzer HERE:
Investigate whether your institution can temporarily host or hire an academic currently at risk in Turkey. Some institutions do this directly and some work with third-party organizations, such as Scholars at Risk. Your institution can also become a member of the Scholars at Risk Network, supporting their work through annual membership dues.
Review any academic or financial relations between your institution and academic institutions in Turkey. These might include joint research projects, grants, or faculty and student exchanges. Such relations can be used as leverage to pressure institutions in Turkey to respect academic freedom.
Use the resources of your institution and the public platforms available to you to disseminate knowledge about the plight of academics in Turkey. This could involve, for example, organizing talks, exhibitions, and press conferences, or producing films and publications.
Organize and participate in political actions and lobbying campaigns directed at Turkish officials and/or officials in your own government. This might be a protest at the Turkish Embassy, making phone calls, or something more creative. Academics for Peace, for example, has a campaign to send letters to university rectors in Turkey, asking them to reinstate academics fired for political reasons. It is particularly important to lobby officials in the United States and European Union member states, given their deep ties to the Turkish government.
Connect with others (both individuals and organizations) who care about this issue, so you can stay informed and motivated. Scholars at Risk, Amnesty International, and the Middle East Studies Association, to name just a few, have email alerts. Like Facebook pages that disseminate news about academics in Turkey and information about actions to support them, such as those of Research Institute on Turkey (RIT) and International Solidarity with Academics in Turkey (ISAT)
Ask your college, university, professional organization, or union to publish a statement supporting academics in Turkey and send it to officials in Turkey and in your own government.
Here is a letter from the Middle East Studies Association that was endorsed by over 40 professional organizations. You can also create petitions and open letters for others to sign, as with this open letter to U.S. officials and this international petition addressed to Turkish officials.
Sign the petitions and open letters. Although this is the easiest action to take, it is still important. These petitions and letters can: (a) communicate the depth and breadth of support to media outlets and government officials, (b) encourage academics in Turkey, and (c) serve as organizing tools to build political networks that facilitate future actions.
But new proposals are more than welcome!