ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, Anthropology and Sociology
Affiliated to the Global Migration Centre, the Centre for International Environmental Studies and the Gender Centre
Spoken languages
Turkish, English, French
Areas of expertise
  • Civil society, social movements and NGOs
  • Immigrants, refugees, diasporas
  • Development, cooperation and aid policies
  • Gender, women and public policies
  • Natural resources, extractive economies, commodities
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Middle East and North Africa


PhD granting institution 
University of Cambridge 

Short biography 
Umut is an Assistant Professor of Transnational Mobilities and Migration. She specializes in transnational development programs and aid policies, expert networks and mobilities, forced military migration, and political and cultural mobilization with an ethnographic perspective from the Armenian/Kurdish region in Turkey. Her research is available in platforms such as Jadaliyya (2022), Current Anthropology (2021, 2023 fc), and Anthropological Theory (2019). Previously, she was affiliated with the Center for Near Eastern Studies, UCLA, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at FU Berlin and the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, ICI Berlin, and taught political anthropology at Bilgi, Bogaziçi, and Sabanci Universities in Istanbul, Turkey.

Selected publications

Edited Book Volume

  • 2023 Occupied Ecologies, An-archic Fragments: Human and Non-human Intersections of Ethnography and the Arts. Foreword by Françoise Vergès. ICI Press, Cultural Inquiry Series: Berlin. Contracted. Forthcoming.

Book Chapter

  • 2023 Mulberry Affects: Ecology, Aesthetics, and Non-Human Memory on the Shores of Tigris River in the Genocidal Wake. In Occupied Ecologies, An-archic Fragments: Human and Non-human Intersections of Ethnography and the Arts. Foreword by Françoise Vergès. Forthcoming.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  • 2023 Breathing under Blockade: Ruined and Resistant Ecologies in a Middle Eastern Heritage Site. Current Anthropology. Forthcoming.
  • 2021 Spaced out States: Decolonizing Trauma in a War-torn Middle Eastern City. Current Anthropology 62(6):717–740.
  • 2019 Space, Loss, and Resistance: A Haunted Pool-Map in South-Eastern Turkey. Anthropological Theory 19(4): 440–469.

Current research

A manuscript for her first book, Low Intensities: War, Extraction, and Resistance in a Middle Eastern Capital, is in the works.  Low Intensities provides an ethnographic inquiry into the complexities of war making and peace building through the windows of forced migration and extraction. The book centers on the almost four decades long low-intensity war between the Turkish state and the guerrilla army of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has resulted in at least 50,000 casualties and the displacement of a further 4 million people, making it one of the longest and most turbulent wars in the geographies associated today with the Global South and East. She’s currently editing a book volume on Occupied Ecologies, An-archic Fragments by the ICI Press Berlin. The book highlights the incommensurable processes and experiences of displacement and dispossession that can be gleaned from artistic and ethnographic work that engages war-torn Middle Eastern landscapes of endurance and resistance in affective terms.