Elif Babül

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Political and legal anthropology, anthropology of the state, transnational standardization processes, politics of human rights, citizenship and national belonging, gender and nationalism, Turkey and the Middle East.

Elif Babül’s research is informed by her long-term interests in everyday forms of state power and political authority, formation of governmental subjectivities, constitution and contestation of legality and legitimacy, and the interaction between national and transnational mechanisms of governance. Drawing on those research interests, her dissertation and current book project explores the standardization process the Turkish state has to undergo in order to become a member of the European Union (EU). Babül examines the mechanism and effects of standardization by focusing on human rights training programs for state officials in Turkey. Based on over two years of extensive field research alongside eleven different training programs all over Turkey, she explores how the accession process reshapes Turkish governmental actors and their practices of governance, as well as the politics of human rights in the country.

Elif Babül’s research was supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council, the Wenner Gren Foundation and several Stanford University fellowships. Her publications include a number of articles in both English and Turkish in journals such as Political and Legal Anthropology Review and New Perspectives on Turkey; as well as edited volumes such as Diaspora and Memory: Figures of Displacement in Contemporary Literature, Arts and Politics.

At Mount Holyoke, Babül teaches classes in political and legal anthropology, anthropology of human rights, ethnographic research methods and writing, Middle Eastern societies and cultures, and Muslim minorities in Europe and the U.S.

News Links

Selected Publications

  • "Postscript to Training Bureaucrats, Practicing for Europe: Negotiating Bureaucratic Authority and Governmental Legitimacy in Turkey" PoLAR Virtual Edition. 2016.
  • "The Paradox of Protection:  Human Rights, the Masculinist State and the Moral Economy of Gratitude in Turkey"  American Ethnologist.  February 2015. 41(1):  116-130.
  • "Imroz'da Taninma Siyasetleri: Ulusal Vatandaslik, YerelAidiyet ve Toplumsal Hafiza" [Politics of Recognition in Imbros: National Citizenship, Local Belonging and Social Memory.] in Imroz Rumlari, Gkeadazerine. [The Rums of Imbros, On Gkeada]. Tansug, F. (ed.). Heyamola Yayinlari. Istanbul: 2012.
  •  “Training Bureaucrats, Practicing for Europe: Constitutive Bureaucratic Imaginaries in Turkey” Political and Legal Anthropology Review. Spring 2012. 35(1):
  • “Smells Like Translation: An Introduction.” Middle East Section. Yasmin Moll. (ed.). Anthropology News. October 2011. 52(7): 41-42.
  • “Human Rights Translations: Reframing the Universal and the International for Bureaucracy in Turkey.” Middle East Section. Emilio Spadola. (ed.). Anthropology News. April 2010. 51(4): 41.
  • “Home or Away? On the Connotations of Homeland Imaginaries in Imbros.” Memory & Diaspora: Figures of Displacement in Contemporary Literature, Arts and Politics. (Thamryis/Intersecting: Place, Sex & Race) Baronian, M. A., Besser, S. & Jansen, Y. (eds.). Rodopi Press, 2006.
  • “The Anthropology of Global Productions: Producing and Critiquing the Global” (with Appel, H., Anand, N., Samet, R. & Sweis, R.) Anthropology News. September 2006. 47(6):16-16.
  • "Claiming a Place Through Memories of Belonging: Politics of Recognition on the Island of Imbros." New Perspectives on Turkey. No. 34 (2006): 47-65.
  • “Gender and Fidelity in Late Nineteenth Century Japan: A Study of Stenography and Ventriloquism by Professor Miyako Inoue” in Gender News. June 26, 2012.
  • “İmroz’da Tanınma Siyasetleri: Ulusal Vatandaşlık, Yerel Aidiyet ve Toplumsal Hafıza” [Politics of Recognition in Imbros: National Citizenship, Local Belonging and Social Memory.] in İmroz Rumları, Gökçeada Üzerine. [Rums of Imbros, On Gökçeada]. Tansuğ, F. (ed.). Heyamola Yayınları. İstanbul: 2012.    
  • “Üniversite Senin Neyine Vesayet?” [What Business Have You With University Vesayet?] in Henüz Özgür Olmadık: Başı Açık Kalbi Kırık Hikayeler. [We Are Not Yet Free: Unveiled, Broken Hearted Stories]. Akbulut, N., Kaplan, H., Yılmaz, H. (eds.). Hayy Kitap. İstanbul: 2008.
  • “Terör Hesaplamaları” [Terrorism Assessments] in Amargi: Feminist Quarterly. N:5 (Summer 2007).
  • “Amerika’da Terör Hezeyanları ve Yeni Hedefler” [Anxieties of Terror and the Emergence of New Targets in the US] in Amargi: Feminist Quarterly. N:4 (Spring 2007).
  • "İmroz`dan Gökçeada`ya Bir Ada Hikayesinin Peşinden." [From Imbros to Gökçeada: Tracing the Story of an Island.] in Yeniden Kurulan Yaşamlar: 1923 Turk-Yunan Zorunlu Nüfus Mübadelesi. [Lives Re-Constructed: 1923 Turkish-Greek Population Exchange.] Müfide Pekin (ed.). İstanbul Bilg Üniversitesi Yayınları. İstanbul: 2005.