Alumnus Paul Kramer Publishes “Queer Politics in Contemporary Turkey”

paul kramer

Alumnus Paul Gordon Kramer (MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies, 2008) has published a new book titled “Queer Politics in Contemporary Turkey” 

Drawing on the words and stories of queer Turkish activists, this book aims to unravel the complexities of queer lives in Turkey. In doing so, it challenges dominant conceptualizations of the queer Turkish experience within critical security discourses.  

“Kramer illuminates how queer and trans activists are reshaping conceptions of Turkish queerness on their own terms. His reflections about being a queer researcher in International Relations are especially engaging,” writes Jamie J. Hagen of Queen's University Belfast in a review. 

"Gaining trust from the local LGBTQ community was the most challenging part of this project," said Paul. "This is a group of historically marginalized people, who have little reason to believe that being the object of research is in and of itself a positive thing. I actually felt a lot of togetherness on this point —any queer person can list the times scrutiny has been weaponized against them." 

He therefore had to spend a lot of time working with local activists, politicians, and non-profit leaders to establish credibility and co-develop an ethical approach to ethnographic research in that context. 

The book argues that while queer Turks are subjected to ceaseless forms of insecurity in their governance, opportunities for emancipatory resistance have emerged alongside these abuses. It identifies the ways in which the state, the family, Turkish Islam and other socially-mediated processes and agencies can expose or protect queers from violence in the Turkish community. 

"Kramer thoughtfully brings to light the complexities of queer and trans Turkish lives and experiences in relation to social and political institutions of power in Turkey," writes Ahmad Qais Munhazim of Thomas Jefferson University. 

Paul Gordon Kramer taught Politics and International Relations in a tenure-track role up until the end of 2020, but is now working in higher education administration at The New School in New York City. He continues to advocate for LGBTQ rights both within and outside of academia.  

"I’ve followed a non-linear career path, which included two years at Oxford as an underwhelming graduate student. However, I don’t think I would have been successful at this project without having been challenged by my professors in the MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies program."

His book, “Queer Politics in Contemporary Turkey” is published in March 2022 by Bristol University Press.  

Congratulations, Paul, on this new book!