Deniz Gundogan Ibrisim

Deniz Gundogan Ibrisim

PhD student in Comparative Literature
Fulbright Scholar
research interests:
  • 20th- and 21st-Century Literature
  • Trauma and Memory Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Posthumanism
  • Environmental Humanities
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1107
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Deniz Gundogan Ibrisim graduated from Istanbul University in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in English Literature.

    I have successfully defended my dissertation “Trauma, Survival and Survivance in Contemporary Anglophone and Turkish Literature: Materiality Beyond Mind” and will graduate with the PhD from Comparative Literature in Spring 2021. My dissertation examines the representation of state-sanctioned violence, its trauma and survival in postcolonial Anglophone and Middle Eastern contexts, allowing us to engage in urgent political and eco-ethical discussions about the questionable scholarly tendency to universalize a Western model of trauma and trauma therapies. My research questions this universalization for the study of atrocities and mass violence cross-culturally and globally.


    I specialize in literary trauma and memory studies, colonial/postcolonial/settler studies, animism, environmental humanities and Middle East studies. My research has been supported by the Sawyer Seminars funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fulbright-IIE, and several Washington University fellowships. My work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as European Review,  Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, as well as edited volumes such as  The Routledge Companion to Literature and Trauma, Animals, Plants, and Landscapes: Ecology of Turkish Literature, Subaltern Women’s Narratives: Strident Voices, Dissenting Bodies, Mapping World Anglophone Studies: English in a World of Strangers, and  Afterlives: Visual, Material, and Literary Remnants, Ruins and Representations of Genocide.


    Inspired by my dissertation research,  I am at work on my newly developed project “Witnessing in the Anthropocene” which explores the lack of critical inquiry into the ethics and aesthetics of witnessing the Anthropocene from the Middle East. My project responds to bearing to witness to violence and trauma in the Middle East within changing notions of human and nonhuman relations in the age of the Anthropocene. In politics, law, religion and science, witnessing has been credited with a human capacity, often imagined as a verbal act of narrativization of violence based on the supremacy of sight. My project aims to expand and challenge this association between witnessing and speech, between witnessing and sight through a critical attention to the role of animism, human and nonhuman entanglement, and other communicative modes. Through its examination of the ways in which public intellectuals and authors engage with forms of witnessing circulating around and out of empire, modernization, the Cold War, decolonization, and climate crisis, the project seeks to extend the practice of witnessing from the human subject to diverse categories of nonhuman beings, such as animals, plants, landscapes, matter, and inanimate objects, as endowed with a capacity akin to “testimonial affordance,” and as potential producers of testimonial knowledge in Middle Eastern literatures