Efe Cengiz

Worlding Zeytinlikler: Knowledge infrastructures and multispecies futures of Aegean olive orchards

University of Groningen, Governance and Innovation, Faculty of Campus Fryslan

Supervisors: Prof.dr. Anne Beaulieu, Dr. Carol Garzon-Lopez


BSc in Sociology with minors in City & Regional Planning, Middle East Technical University, Ankara/Turkey
MA in STS, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt/Germany
MA Thesis Topic: Critiquing a necro-epistemic discourse (makes death knowable in some regards while disempowering other knowings and rememberings of the dead and the event of death), prevalent in local news media, that subjectifies Turkey’s healthcare workers as heroes, soldiers, deserters, terrorists, and martyrs during the first year of the covid-19 pandemic. Discourse analysis of over ten thousand news articles published in 2020, to argue that producing an Other with the sole purpose of enacting a suicidal crusade against it have always been integral to state-making in Turkey, yet this discourse can be flipped on its head to damage such attempts by disillusioned members of society.

Summary PhD Project

In the Aegean Region of Turkey (Ege), lives and worlding practices of more-than-just-humans are entangled within the forest-like landscapes of Zeytinlikler. These olive landscapes are therefore sites of epistemic, political, environmental, and vital struggle. This research shall take the olive related knowledge infrastructures in Ege as its focal point into these struggles.

Through the culmination of four distinct projects, this thesis will investigate and critique existing Knowledge Infrastructures (KIs) in their relation to local ecology, and advocate for sustainability and epistemic justice in these landscapes.

These projects will:

a) deconstruct and make legible the functioning of olive KIs in Ege alongside the actors and politics involved with them, so that they can be investigated and critiqued

b) produce an interactive map of the trends of change in zeytinlikler, through ethnographic fieldwork, so that materialization of KIs can be made visible

c) trace and tell stories of multispecies entanglement in these landscapes, so that the analyses do not remain trapped within human concerns alone

d) bring together the findings of previous projects for overarching discussion of olive KIs, ecological knowledge they depend on and their environmental effects, so that more just and sustainable KIs could be argued for.