Making distance from our displacement

A cross-section of the academic life of displaced scholars from Turkey working on displacement in Germany


  • Refiye Nevra Akdemir IMIS, Universität Osnabrück

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loss, creative destruction, uncertainty, exiled scholar, displacement, gender


The article interrogates the different ways in which exiled researchers, who have migrated from the field of uncertainty created by the authoritarian regime to the field of precariousness created by extensive marketization, address the issue of displacement in these two different fields of uncertainty. The first part of the article will elucidate how displacement turns into a transformative experience of loss, which is the starting point and direction of movement. In the second part, the tensions in the processes of exiled researchers seeking scholarship and writing in order to continue their careers through problematising the displacement that they themselves now experience. Following section aims thematising by an insider's look at their efforts to overcome marginalising or exclusionary attitudes that emerge through internalized patterns about the experience of being exiled and displacement, and to resettle. In short, how exiled academics' own experiences are reflected in their academic production and professions on the axes of gender and precarity can be summarized as the problematic on which the article proceeds.

I can list the methodological resource of findings to be reached in this study as follows. I will draw on findings from my completed although yet unpublished research on the loss of status of the first highly educated refugees. Secondly, for this study, I will conduct a small ethnographic field study and incorporate the narratives of colleagues with similar experiences into the analysis. Thirdly, I will try to proceed with an auto-ethnographic method, with my own experiences. In this respect, data filtered from ethnographic field research, as well as an autoethnographic method, will enrich the article. Thus, in the article, as an academic in exile, I will consider a series of proposals regarding academic work facilities/spaces before and after being displaced.

Moreover, my position as an author/researcher and my relationship to the profession, when and where I experienced the loss, and the relearned life/language will constitute the initial themes and methodological discussion of the article. In this context, the loss created by the experience of temporariness and insecurity becomes an essential area of discussion. In the article, the claim that the experience of loss is not post-migration, but pre-migration will be grounded first. Secondly, the lost conceptualization will be put into place. Finally, the possibilities of transition from insecurity due to the authoritarianism of the state I will discuss to the insecurity experienced due to market dominance in the academic system that needs to be adjusted after migration.




How to Cite

Akdemir, R.N. 2023. Making distance from our displacement: A cross-section of the academic life of displaced scholars from Turkey working on displacement in Germany. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 8, 4 (Jan. 2023), 42–57. DOI:



Gender Studies in Exile