Gibbs Fellow awarded ERC grant for research on Islamist imperialist politics

Former Gibbs Fellow Dr. Sertaç Sehlikoglu has been awarded a €1.5million ERC Starting Grant for a major new research project entitled “Imaginative Landscapes of Islamist Politics Across Balkans-to-Bengal Complex”.

Dr. Sehlikoglu is a social anthropologist specialising in gender and subjectivity in the Middle East, and in Islamicate contexts. She completed her PhD at the Department of Social Anthropology and currently holds a Research Fellowship at Pembroke College.

Her PhD work focused on the formation of desiring selves. She describes her new project as “shifting her focus on the psychoanalytical and on aspirations away from feminist self-making and directing towards the imaginative elements in the formation of populist Islamist political movements”.

Dr. Sehlikoglu worked through the initial stages of her ideas during a project supported by Newnham College’s Gibbs Travelling Research Fellowship. This research has now gained her the ERC Starting Grant. She argues, “a collaborative anthropological study is essential to ethnographically excavate the imaginative forces in the formation of populist Islamist aspirations in the Balkans (Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bosnia-Herzegovina), the Middle East (Turkey, Levant, and Iran), and South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). These sites offer a coherent ethnographic framework because of their connected and intertwined spaces, histories, communities and post-imperial trajectories.”

The European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants have been awarded to 408 researchers from across Europe. The awards will help individual researchers to build their own teams and conduct world-leading research across all disciplines, creating an estimated 2,500 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff at the host institutions. This year, eight Cambridge scholars were awarded the ERC Starting Grant; of this, six are in Natural Sciences and Engineering, one in Life Sciences, and one in Social Sciences.