Serra M Hakyemez

Serra Hakyemez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota , holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University. Based on her archival and ethnographic research on terror trials in Diyarbak?r, Turkey (2008-2009, 2013-2015), her dissertation, Lives and Times of Militancy, examines what the “political” looks like within the space of law where Turkey resumes its war of terror against the Kurdish movement through myriad judicial and penitentiary technologies. Hakyemez currently works on a book project, Laws of Terror: Becoming Political in Criminal Courts, which approaches the political vulnerability of Kurds before the law as generative of a grammar of defense that is at once aspirational, corporal, and collective. Laws of Terror argues that the vague and arbitrary execution of anti-terror laws not only fail to discipline Kurdish revolutionaries into citizen-subjects, but also gives birth to an intimate space in which the “terror” suspects work together to redraw the lines between hope and despair, politics and criminality, and heroism and treason. Hakyemez’s research has been awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, and Wenner-Gren Foundation. Her publications in peer-reviewed journals and opinion pieces draw on the literature on ordinary ethics, political community, and human rights to examine the imbrications of law and violence in Turkey’s war of terror.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. : Cultural Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 2016.
  • MA: Sociology and Anthropology, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 2008.
  • MSc: Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), London, UK, 2006.
  • BA: Political Science & Business Administration, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, 2005.


  • political-legal anthropology
  • social theory
  • human rights
  • political violence
  • "war on terror"
  • courtroom ethnography
  • Kurdish freedom movement
  • Turkey
  • Middle East
Courses Taught
  • Anthropology of the Middle East
  • Human Rights Beyond States
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Neubauer Junior Research Fellow: Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis , 2016 - 2017


  • Human Rights Foundation, Turkey: Project Coordinator, 2013 - 2014
  • Diyarbakir Baglar Municipality: Social Policy Project Management, 2008 - 2009
  • Kurdish Human Rights Project: Translator, 2007 - 2008
  • Hakyemez, Serra Makbule (2017). Margins of the Archive: Torture, Heroism, and the Ordinary in Prison No. 5, Turkey. Anthropological Quarterly, 90, 107-138.
  • Hakyemez, Serra Makbule (2017). The Seals of the Constitutional Referendum in Turkey. Political and Legal Anthropology Review. Link
  • Hakyemez, Serra Makbule (2017). Turkey's Failed Peace Process with the Kurds: A Different Explanation. Middle East Brief. (pp 1-9). Crown Center for Middle East Studies. Link
  • Bilgin Ayata (2015). AKP'nin yeni hakikate rejiminde Erdoğan'ın Dersim Özrü: Kurbanı katile dönüştürmek. Birikim, 309/310, 32-43.
  • Önder Çelik (2012). Siyasi Davaların Liberal Temsili. Azad Alik. Link
  • Bilgin Ayata (2013). AKP's Engagement with Turkey's Past Crimes: An Analysis of PM Erdogan's Dersim Apology. Dialectical Anthropology, 37, 131-143.
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 2015 - 2016
  • National Science Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, 2013 - 2014
  • Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant., 2013 - 2014
  • European Union Jean Monnet Scholarship, 2005 - 2006