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Seda Altuğ


Postdoctoral Fellow EUME (2017 - 2019)

Governing Land and Politics of Difference in Syria (1920–1946)

Seda Altuğ is a lecturer at the Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. She received her PhD from Utrecht University, Netherlands. Her dissertation is entitled “Sectarianism in the Syrian Jazira: Community, Land and Violence in the Memories of World War I and the French Mandate (1915–1939)”. Her research interests cover state-society relations in French-Syria, land issues, empire, minorities, border and memory. She has recently started working on land and property regimes in the Ottoman East and Syria under the French mandate. She published various pieces on the minority regime and refugee issue in French-Syria, as well as on Armenian and Kurdish history in post-genocide Syria. She also wrote extensively on current affairs in Syria and the wider Middle East. In the academic year 2017/18, she is an Irmgard Coninx Prize EUME Fellow.

Governing Land and Politics of Difference in Syria (1920–1946)

This study intends to investigate the workings of colonial politics of difference and management of population through the governance of land and property in French-Syria. Seemingly a pure political-economic issue, the land question is intrinsically linked to the maintenance of political order and management of populations. It addresses a set of political, economic, judicial and social issues. Providing the political and social underpinnings of the nature of the contest over land and property is the field of ethno-religious difference. In the Syrian case, the field has been dominated by “primordialist” assumptions. However, ethnic and religious identifications are not fixed social categories; their significance is bound up with political, economic, social and even epistemological projects of difference-making on the imperial and national levels. This project will deal with the economic project of difference-making by investigating the politics of new settlements and mixed land tenure systems in the city of Homs, and in two multi-ethnic frontier regions in Syria during the French Mandate.