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Elif Babul
Clayman Institute Graduate Dissertation Fellow 2011-12
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Mount Holyoke

Elif Babül is assistant professor in the department of Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College. She received her PhD in the department of Anthropology at Stanford. Her dissertation: The State in Training: EU Accession and the Making of Human Rights in Turkey is an ethnographic study of human rights training programs for state officials and government workers in Turkey, implemented in line with the country’s much debated accession into the European Union. Based on over two years of extensive field research alongside eleven different training projects all over Turkey, her dissertation traces how both human rights and the bureaucratic field are re-framed in terms of professionalism and expertise to comply with the EU idea of “good governance.”

For the tenure of her Clayman Fellowship, she is interested in focusing on women’s and children’s rights trainings and how women and children emerge as particular rights-bearing subjects -- “helpless victims” in need of paternal protection and care. A comparison of these with the trainings on prevention of torture reveals how gendered and infantilized conventions of victimhood define certain groups as worthy of rights, while excluding some other groups that need the recognition of their rights the most.