Online Lecture: Rebecca Bryant, "In the Ruins of Futures Past," 28 October 2021

Jeremy F. Walton's picture
Dear Colleagues,

Please feel welcome join my research group, "Empires of Memory: The Cultural Politics of Historicity in Former Habsburg and Ottoman Cities," this Thursday, 28 October 2021, for a lecture by Rebecca Bryant of Utrecht University. The title of Professor Bryant's talk is "In the Ruins of Futures Past: Potentiality, Planning and the Contested Revival of Cyprus's Ghost City."

We will begin at 10.30 Central European Time. Below, please find a longer description of the event. If you would like to attend, please write to me at to request Zoom credentials.

Jeremy F. Walton
Research Group Leader
Empires of Memory
The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Since the de facto division of Cyprus in 1974, the former resort town of Varosha has been held hostage, a pawn in negotiations. For 46 years, highrise hotels rusted on pristine beaches inside a Turkish military camp, awaiting a political agreement that would restore the town to its 30,000 displaced owners. In October 2020, the surprise opening of this ghost city turned a site of dark tourism into a space producing increasingly contested visions of what the town’s future should be. This presentation will discuss a new research project examining both past and present futural visions for this hostage city and the ways in which these imaginations intersect with the political, social, and economic life of an unresolved conflict. Viewing the modern urban ruin as a field of potentiality, the presentation will examine the competing imaginaries, materialities, and subjectivities that are today emerging around the ruined city. 

Rebecca Bryant holds the Chair in Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University and is a Visiting Professor in the European Institute at the London School of Economics. Bryant is an anthropologist of politics and law whose work has focused on ethnic conflict and displacement, border practices, post-conflict reconciliation, and contested sovereignty, primarily in Cyprus and Turkey. A significant part of her work concerns the politics of memory, contested heritage, and time and the future in the ethnography of the state. Most recently she is the co-author, with Daniel M. Knight, of The Anthropology of the Future (2019) and, with Mete Hatay, of Sovereignty Suspended: Building the So-Called State (2020). She also co-edited (with Madeleine Reeves), The Everyday Lives of Sovereignty: Political Imagination Beyond the State, which came out earlier this year.