Accepted Paper:

National flows: the making of a turkish delta  

Author:

Caterina Scaramelli (Amherst College)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the production of the Kızılırmak delta into a Turkish wetland. It argues that the production of Turkish wetlands required the integration of international categories of wetlands into national imaginaries, as well as the material making and remaking of landscapes themselves.

Paper long abstract:

Beginning in the 1990s, scientists, NGOs, residents, and bureaucrats have come to reimagine the Kızılırmak delta. Previously, they had cast it as a fertile agricultural region at the edge of coastal marshes: home to tobacco, melon, pepper, and cabbage fields, rice paddies, and herds of water buffaloes and sheep grazing in the lower plains. Now, the delta is seen as a font of biological diversity and cultural value, at risk of disappearing in the face of urban, industrial, and agricultural pressures. Overlapping definitions, conservation policies and boundaries, and changing infrastructure make delta wetlands unstable, liminal places. And the instability of the wetland — as a place and as a category— has allowed it to become a locus of varied nationalist, international, and civic imaginaries. This paper analyzes the production of the Kızılırmak delta into a Turkish wetland, arguing that the production of Turkish wetlands required the integration of international categories of wetlands into national imaginaries, as well as the material making and remaking of landscapes themselves. Turkey's participation in international wetland conservation science since the 1960s must be situated within national (and nationalist) political and agricultural histories. Rather than an abrupt shift from reclamation to conservation, attention to the ways the delta's environments were made and remade shows institutional, material, and ideological continuities.

Panel LL-FWF04
River deltas as living landscapes: movement, management, and the critique of a commonplace