School of Social and Political Science

Dr Zeynep Oguz

Job Title

Lecturer in Anthropology of Development


Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Research interests

Research interests

Extractive politics, energy transitions, political geology and anthropology, elemental ethnography, territorial politics, Turkey and the Middle East, populism and nationalism, ecofascism, green colonialism, United States, earth politics, social movements, time and temporality.

I am interested in how political projects —repressive and liberatory— conspire with earthly forces; and I examine these interactions (or "political geologies") in the context of fossil fuel extraction, energy transitions, insurgency and counter-insurgency, nationalism, and lately, right-wing and climate movements. I have worked on these topics in Turkey, Cyprus, and the US; and I welcome students interested in diverse geographical locations. My work is in dialogue with political and environmental anthropology, and at the same time, is in conversation with political geography, geophilosophy, political theory, and political ecology. I particularly encourage projects coming from these interdisciplinary backgrounds, and those that are interested in the critical study of fossil fuel politics, energy transitions, state violence, counter-insurgency, territorial politics, histories of violence, and energy futures.


I received my PhD in anthropology from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York (CUNY) in 2019. Before coming to Edinburgh, I served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities at Northwestern University (2019-2021) and a Senior Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Lausanne (2021-2023). I've published in Cultural Anthropology, Environmental Humanities, Journal of Cultural Economy, and Political Geography. I'm currently working on a book project on the politics of oil and geology in Turkey, which will be published by Duke University Press.

Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed articles

Whitington, J. and Z. Oguz. 2023. “Geology, Power, and the Planetary,” Environmental Humanities 15(3) special issue “Earth as Praxis” (co-authored with Jerome Whitington)

Oguz, Z. 2023. “Of Geosocial Relations and Separations: Detangling Violence Across Scales of Extraction and Colonial Warfare.” Environmental Humanities 15(3) special issue “Earth as Praxis”

Oguz, Z. 2023. “Speculative Undergrounds: Oil’s Absent Presence, Neo-Imperialisms, and Earth Politics in Turkey.” Cultural Anthropology, 38, (3): 411-437.

Oguz, Z. 2023. “Managing Oil Theft: Socio-material relations, debt, and disruption in Southeastern Turkey.” Journal of Cultural Economy.

Oguz, Z. 2021. “Cavernous Politics: Geopower, Territory, and the Kurdish Question in Turkey.” Political Geography 85.


Peer-reviewed book chapters

Oguz, Z. forthcoming. “Is There Oil in Turkey?: Geology, Oil Exploration, and the Indeterminate Materiality of Resources.” In Material Politics: Infrastructure, Science, and Expertise in Modern Turkey. (Duygu Kasdogan, Ekin Kurtic, and Mehmet Ekinci, eds.). Bloomsbury.

Oguz, Z. 2023. “Catastrophic Formations: Political Cosmologies of the Great Flood on the Mountains of Anatolia,” in New Earth Histories. (Alison Bashford, Emily Kern, and Adam Bobbette, eds.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Oguz, Z. 2023. “Speculative Matters: The Pasts and Presents of Oil in Turkey,” In Life Worlds of Middle Eastern Oil: Histories and Ethnographies of Black Gold. (Nelida Fuccario and Mandana Limbert, eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Oguz, Z. 2022. “Tectonics,” In An Anthropogenic Table of Elements. (Timothy Neale, Thao Phan, and Courtney Addison, eds.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

I am happy to meet students in person or online, for semester 2 my Guidance & Feedback hours are:

Thursdays 1-3pm, in person (CMB 5.10) or on Teams

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Whitington J, Oguz Z. Geology, Power, and the Planetary. Environmental Humanities. 2023 Nov 1;15(3):145-158. doi: 10.1215/22011919-10746045
Oguz Z. Of geosocial relations and separations. Environmental Humanities. 2023 Nov 1;15(3):174-189. doi: 10.1215/22011919-10746067
Oguz Z. Speculative undergrounds: Oil’s absent presence, neo-imperial nationalisms, and earth politics in Turkey. Cultural Anthropology. 2023 Aug 15;38(3):411-437. doi: 10.14506/ca38.3.05
Oguz Z. Managing oil theft: Socio-material relations, debt, and disruption in Southeastern Turkey. Journal of Cultural Economy. 2023 Jan 23. Epub 2023 Jan 23. doi: 10.1080/17530350.2022.2144412
Oguz Z. Cavernous politics: Geopower, territory, and the Kurdish question in Turkey. Political Geography. 2021 Mar;85:102331. Epub 2021 Jan 20. doi: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102331