Field Initiative 3. Turkey

Care Across Species, Routes of Refuge, and People as Infrastructure in Tarlabaşı, Istanbul

Project Coordinator: Alize Arıcan, UIC, PhD Student in Anthropology

Supervisor: Tarini Bedi,  UIC, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Artist Participant: Tamara Becerra Valdez, UIC, MFA Student in Moving Image

What does the Anthropocene look like from an urban enclave that has not been examined with an attentive eye to climate change, posthuman ontologies, and questions of political ecology? How does an attunement to those issues change the narrative in which these localities are understood, and in turn, how does this perspective affect or transform the political ecological frames through which we understand places and relationships?

To address this question, we will mainly work with Tarlabaşı Solidarity Group (TSG), meaning we will approach these issues through putting in labor with this group, rather than doing research on them. TSG is a loose network of people who are engaged with practices of non-human solidarities and the limits and possibilities of “environmental” refugees, without manifesting them as their main course of action. Their efforts in urban community building and solidarity amidst a site of rapid urban transformation offer novel approaches to evaluate the ways in which we understand “The Anthropocene,” or more broadly, political ecology.

Importantly, we locate Tarlabaşı as a neighborhood in conversation and interaction with other ones, as a part of a bustling metropolis and its municipal policy frameworks. In this sense, we do not limit the spatiality of our study to Tarlabaşı. We trace these issues without losing sight of myriad connections of this urban locality, and in this vein, we follow these connections to wherever they take us.