Dr Başak Ertür

Staff details

Dr Başak Ertür


Reader in the Centre for Research Architecture


Visual Cultures


b.ertur (@gold.ac.uk)

Başak's research focuses on law's epistemologies and legal aesthetics.

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.

Academic qualifications

  • 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

Research interests

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.’

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

Publications and research outputs


Ertür, Başak. 2022. Spectacles and specters: a performative theory of political trials. New York: Fordham University Press. ISBN 9781531501877

Edited Book

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

Ertür, Başak, ed. 2011. Manual for conspiracy. Sharjah, UAE: Sharjah Art Foundation, pp. 29-40.

Sökmen, Müge G. and Ertür, Başak, eds. 2010. Barbarları Beklerken: Edward W. Said Anısına. Istanbul, Turkey: Metis. ISBN 9789753426817

Edited Journal

Ertür, Başak and Martel, James, eds. 2016. Something is Rotten in the State, Theory & Event, 19(1). 2572-6633

Book Section

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. 2020. La barricade. Techniques & Culture(74), pp. 72-73. ISSN 0248-6016

Ertür, Başak. 2019. Note sulla difficoltà di scrivere a proposito della violenza di Stato. Aut aut(384), ISSN 0005-0601

Ertür, Başak. 2019. Conscription and Critique. Critical Times, 2(2), pp. 270-284. ISSN 2641-0478


Dadak, Zeynep; Ertür, Başak; Köstepen, Enis and Lebow, Alisa. 2007. For the record: The World Tribunal on Iraq.


Ertür, Başak. 2009. Report on the First Ergenekon Indictment. Technical Report. Amnesty International.


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.

Ertür, Başak. 2012. Plenty of History. Manifesta Journal #15, Amsterdam.

Conferences and talks

2022: Book Launch for Spectacles and Specters: A Performative Theory of Political Trials
Başak Ertür with Anthony Alessandrini and Judith Butler at Book Culture, NYC