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Yesim Yaprak Yildiz

Yesim Yaprak Yildiz is currently a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Cambridge, UK. She is a member of Selwyn College and works under the direction of Prof Patrick Baert. In her doctoral research, she is looking into confessions of officials on past atrocities against civilians, with a focus on Turkey and state violence against Kurds. Drawing upon philosophical and sociological discussions on public confessions, she aims to examine the processes of production of truth and subjectivity in confessions.

Yaprak received her Master’s degree in Social and Political Thought at the University of Warwick in the UK and her BSc in Political Science at Middle East Technical University in Turkey. She has been working on human rights violations in Turkey for over ten years. She has worked as a freelance researcher and consultant for UN Women, European Roma Rights Centre and Child Soldiers International between 2013 and 2015. Previously she worked as a broadcast journalist at the BBC World Service and as a research assistant at Amnesty International.

Research Interests

Critical theory, philosophy of history, memory studies, human rights, transitional justice, political violence

Academic Experience

Summer 2016 Associate Researcher, Centre for South East European Studies, University of Graz, Austria

November 2015 Visiting Scholar, Centre for International Governance and Justice, Australian National University, Australia

Selected Conference and Workshop Papers

13 January 2016 – Confession as Excuse: Performance and Performativity in Rousseau’s Confessions, Sociology of Intellectuals Methodology Workshop, EHESS, Paris, France

25 November 2015 – Torture, Confession, Truth: The Error of a False Causality, Torture After 9.11: The Asia-Pacific Context Workshop, Centre for International Governance and Justice, ANU, Canberra, Australia

14 – 16 April 2015 - “Confessions of a Turkish Policeman on State Violence against Kurds: The Path from Truth to Reconciliation”, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania

05 - 07 December 2013 – ‘Past as a Political Tool: The Revival of Dersim Massacre in Turkish State Discourse’, Historical Justice and Memory Conference organised by Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University, New York, USA

24 – 25 October 2013 – ‘Politics of the Past of the Justice and Development Party Government in Turkey’, paper presented at the Politics of Memory in Europe workshop, Danish Institute of International Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark

Human Rights Reports

Yildiz, Yesim Yaprak (2015), Nowhere to Turn: The situation of Dom Refugees from Syria in Turkey, European Roma Rights Centre.

Yildiz, Yesim Yaprak (2013), Legislative Review Regarding the Compatibility of Health Legislation with International Standards on Gender Equality-Cluster 5, United Nations Joint Programme Fostering an Enabling Environment for Gender Equality in Turkey

Yildiz, Y. Y., Baumann F., Dutta, S. (2010), Empowering Women or Perpetuating Victimhood: Minority Ethnic and Roma Women’s Experiences of Domestic Violence Policy and Service Provision

Selected Awards and Grants

November 2015 Visiting PhD fellowship, Centre for International Governance and Justice, Australian National University

April 2015 Funding for PHD summer school on memory and agency, COST Network, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania

January – June 2015 Fieldwork funding, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge

December 2013 Travel grant, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge

November 2013 Travel grant, Selwyn College, University of Cambridge

May 2013 Funding for PHD summer school on transcultural memory in Europe, COST Network, Copenhagen, Denmark

2000 – 2003 Turkish Education Foundation Scholarship for BSc at Middle East Technical University

Other Research/Work Experience

July 2014 – May 2015 –Researcher (Freelance), European Roma Rights Centre

February – March 2014 – Research Consultant (Freelance), Child Soldiers International, London, UK

October 2013 – February 2014 Legislative Expert (Freelance), UN Women, Ankara, Turkey

April 2012 – August 2013 - Broadcast Journalist, BBC World Service, London, UK

August 2011 – April 2012 - Communications Fundraiser, Freedom from Torture, London, UK (part time)

September 2008 – April 2012 – Research and Campaign Assistant, Amnesty International, International Secretariat, London, UK (part-time)

July 2005 - June 2006 International Relations Coordinator – Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Ankara, Turkey

  • E-mail:
  • Address: Department of Sociology, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RQ
  • Supervisor: Professor Patrick Baert
  • College: Selwyn
  • Thesis Title: (Dis)avowal of State Violence: Confessional Performances of State Officials on Past Atrocities