I am a critical legal scholar based at the Centre for Research Architecture (CRA). My research focuses on legal and political violence, performativity, and more broadly on law's epistemologies and aesthetics. Prior to joining the CRA, I taught at Birkbeck Law School for a decade.
I am away this academic year on research leave as a Leverhulme Research Fellow (2023-24) working on a book about people's tribunals and counter-forensics. I will return in October 2024 as the convenor for the new MRes in Forensic Architecture.
- PhD Law, Birkbeck, University of London 2015
- MA Liberal Studies, The New School for Social Research 2006
- BA Combined Honours in Arts, Durham University 2002
I am an interdisciplinary and critical legal scholar with an intellectual home in the BritCrit tradition of general jurisprudence – a body of scholarship combining a strong methodological focus on aesthetic and ethical dimensions of law, legal forms and methods, with critical attention to political practices of resistance in negotiating legal violence. My work is informed by humanities approaches to law, and has primarily focused on investigating the entanglements of law and political violence, the relationship between law, memory and history, and law’s epistemologies and aesthetics.
My book Spectacles and Specters (2022) is a work of critical legal theory that draws on legal history, philosophy of language, deconstruction, political theory, and addresses questions of historiography. My current research and forthcoming publications are focused on the themes of the relationship between legal factuality and public truth, counter-forensics, investigatory aesthetics, and rethinking the forum as a collective space of judgment. I have been awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2023-24) to complete my next book.
I have published articles and book chapters on a range of topics including: conceptualising and studying state violence; academic freedom in the War on Terror; genocide denialism and memory laws; filmic representations of transgender bodies before the law; counter-monumental practices of resistance; conspiracy theories and the law; the ‘deep state’; and on Walter Benjamin’s seminal essay on the relationship between law and violence, ‘Toward the Critique of Violence.’
Publications and research outputs
Ertür, Başak. 2022. Spectacles and specters: a performative theory of political trials. New York: Fordham University Press. ISBN 9781531501877
Sökmen, Müge G. and Ertür, Başak, eds. 2017. Warten auf die Barbaren: Zum Gedenken an Edward W. Said. Engelschoff, Germany: Verlag auf dem Ruffel. ISBN 9783933847515
Sökmen, Müge G. and Ertür, Başak, eds. 2008. Waiting for the Barbarians: A Tribute to Edward W. Said. London: Verso. ISBN 9781844672462
Lebow, Alisa and Ertür, Başak. 2021. ‘Wo beginnen’ [‘Where to Begin? Revision as Method’]. In: Nicole Wolf, ed. Grenzfälle:Dokumentarische Praxis zwischen Film und Literatur bei Merle Kröger und Philip Scheffner [Borderline Cases: Documentary practice between film and literature with Merle Kröger and Philip Scheffner]. Berlin: Verlag Vorwerk 8. ISBN 9783947238354
Ertür, Başak; Butler, Judith and Athanasiou, Athena. 2017. Türkçe Basıma Sunuş: Çeviride Mülksüzleşme. In: Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou, eds. Mülksüzleşme Siyasaldaki Performatif. Istanbul, Turkey: Metis, pp. 9-21.
Ertür, Başak. 2016. Barricades: resources and residues of resistance. In: Judith Butler; Zeynep Gambetti and Leticia Sabsay, eds. Vulnerability in Resistance. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, pp. 97-121. ISBN 9780822362906
Ertür, Başak. 2016. "Le Chevalier d'Éon": wagering in a wilderness of mirrors (English) / "Le Chevalier d'Éon": Aynaların Yabanında Bahse Tutuşmak (Turkish). In: Süreyyya Evren, ed. Nil Yalter: Off the Record. Istanbul, Turkey: Arter, pp. 92-105. ISBN 9786059606028
Ertür, Başak. 2016. The conspiracy archive: Turkey's deep state on trial. In: Stewart Motha and Honni van Rijswijk, eds. Law, Violence, Memory: Uncovering the Counter-Archive. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 177-194. ISBN 9781138830639
Ertür, Başak. 2019. Note sulla difficoltà di scrivere a proposito della violenza di Stato. Aut aut(384), ISSN 0005-0601
Ertür, Başak and Lebow, Alisa. 2014. Coup de Genre: The Trials and Tribulations of Bülent Ersoy. Theory & Event, 17(1), ISSN 2572-6633
Ertür, Başak. 2014. The Gezi Uprising and Particularities of Discontent. Law and Critique, 25(1), pp. 3-7. ISSN 0957-8536
Ertür, Başak. 2015. Spectacles and spectres: political trials, performativity and scenes of sovereignty. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London
Ertür, Başak. 2019. Law of Denial: The Armenian Genocide at the European Court of Human Rights. Critical Legal Thinking.
Butler, Judith and Ertür, Başak. 2017. In Turkey, academics asking for peace are accused of terrorism. The Guardian, London.
Further profile content
Conferences and talks
Book Launch for Spectacles and Specters: A Performative Theory of Political Trials
Başak Ertür with Anthony Alessandrini and Judith Butler at Book Culture, NYC
Grants and awards
Leverhulme Research Fellowship, 2023-24
CAPES/PRINT Visiting Professor, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, 2022
Julien Mezey Dissertation Award, Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, 2016