Laurent Dissard (CV)

My research examines how Turkey’s efforts to “modernize” through infrastructural “development” have simultaneously redefined the future and the past of the nation. In my website, I explore more specifically the manner in which the past is constructed or imagined, contested or celebrated, misused or forgotten in present-day Turkey. Located within the disciplines of Sociocultural Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies, my work also finds inspiration in the fields of Archaeological Theory, Political Ecology, and Middle Eastern History.

I received my PhD in Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley in 2011 after studying in Bordeaux and Leuven. I have taught courses in History, Anthropology, Middle Eastern Studies, Archaeology, and Classics at UC Berkeley, UPenn, Santa Monica College, and Koç University in Istanbul. After receiving a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania, I moved to Istanbul as an Associate Researcher at the Institut Français d’Études Anatoliennes (IFÉA). I am currently a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies of University College London. 

My book Submerged Stories (under consideration for the Infrastructure Series of MIT Press) takes dams as symbols of Turkey’s attempts to “modernize” and “develop,” and their associated reservoirs, artificial lakes inundating river valleys and their cultural heritage, as metaphors for the country’s “submerged stories.” The book explains how infrastructures like dams, which delineate the possibilities and confines of Turkey’s future, also simultaneously redefine the possibilities and confines of its past.

Peer-Reviewed Articles:

Common Ground” (2013) with M. Rosenzweig in Near Eastern Archaeology – “Seeing the Past” (2012) in Spontaneous Generations – “Claude Lévi-Strauss (2012) in Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology – “Beyond Ethics” (2012) with M. Rosenzweig, T. Matney in Archaeological Review of Cambridge – “Archaeo-technology (2009) in Archaeology and the Politics of Vision

Forthcoming Publications:

Submerged Stories under consideration for the Infrastructure Series of MIT Press – “Contested Infrastructures” (draft) in Contested Spaces in Contemporary Turkey – “Learning by Doing: The Keban Dam Rescue Project (1968-1975)” (draft).

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