Dr Başak Ertür

Staff details

Dr Başak Ertür


Reader in the Centre for Research Architecture


Visual Cultures


b.ertur (@gold.ac.uk)

Goldsmiths Research Centres/Groups

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 over 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.

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) 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 work on 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

2024: SLSA Socio-Legal Theory and History Prize
Awarded to Spectacles and Specters: A Performative Theory of Political Trials

2023: Leverhulme Research Fellowship
'Who’s to judge: counter-claims to public truth and justice'

2022: CAPES/PRINT Visiting Professor
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

2016: Julien Mezey Dissertation Award
Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities

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.

Media engagements

2024: Talat Paşa cinayeti davasından bugüne; 1915’in hayaletleri mahkemelere nasıl girdi?
Turkish-language interview about Spectacles and Spectres: A Performative Theory of Political Trials, published on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, 24 April 2024

2022: Adalet Atlası 2.5: Devlet suçu nasıl kanıtlanır?
Turkish-language podcast episode on evidencing state crimes with Tanıl Bora and Hazal Özvarış

Conferences and talks

2024: Right?
Talk at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, responding to Banu Cennetoğlu's installation 'Right?' in the exhibition Self-Determination: A Global Perspective

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

2022: Performing Environmental Justice: Staged Reflections
Held at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin with Shweta Bhattad, Zuleikha Chaudhari, Başak Ertür, Emilie Gaillard, Shela Sheikh and Radha D’Souza as part of The Whole Life: Archives and Imaginaries

2022: Grid Memory
Held at HKW with Nataša Damnjanović, Charlotte Eifler, Başak Ertür, Adla Isanović, Nihad Kreševljaković, Armina Pilav & Damir Ugljen, Clarissa Thieme, Nanna Heidenreich as part of The Whole Life

2021: Courts Panel in "Socializing Evidence"
Held at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin with Başak Ertür, Hanaa Hakiki, Chrysa Papadopoulou, and Christina Varvia, moderated by Wolfgang Kaleck, Oct 9, 2021


Judith Butler, Şiddetsizliğin Gücü (The Force of Nonviolence, 2020), trans. Başak Ertür, Istanbul: Metis, 2022.

Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou, Mülksüzleşme: Performatif Siyaset (Dispossession: The Performative in the Political, 2013), trans. Başak Ertür, Istanbul: Metis, 2017.

Lauren Berlant, 'Psikanaliz ve Arzunun Biçimciliği' ('Psychoanalysis and the Formalism of Desire'), trans. Başak Ertür, KaosQ+ 3: 5-12, 2015.

Judith Butler, Cinsiyet Belası: Feminizm ve Kimliğin Altüst Edilmesi (Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, 1990), trans. Başak Ertür, Istanbul: Metis, 2008.

Jenny Holzer, Truisms and Survival Series, trans. Başak Ertür, Istanbul: Yama 2007.

Judith Butler, Kırılgan Hayat: Yasın ve Şiddetin Gücü (Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, 2004), trans. Başak Ertür, Istanbul: Metis, 2005.

Val Plumwood, Feminizm ve Doğaya Hükmetmek (Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, 1993), trans. Başak Ertür, Istanbul: Metis, 2004.