Su Hyeon Cho

Su Hyeon Cho

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The working title of my thesis is 'Saints and States in a Plastic Bowl: Tales of a Sacred Porridge in Unlikely State'. My ethnographic fieldwork traces hrisi or harissa-cooking among Alawite, Arab Christian, and Armenian communities in the Turkish border province of Hatay to understand the power of rituals in perpetual ruptures that the region has experienced, such as the 1915 Armenian genocide, the annexation of the sanjak to Turkey in 1939, the 1980 coup, the rise of neoliberalism, and the contemporary minority politics.

In light of the recent devastating earthquakes in February 2023, in particular, the act of cooking harisa has assumed an even deeper meaning, symbolising unity and rejuvenation of communities. Throughout my project, I aim to shed light on the resilience of these communities and the profound significance of food and ritual, which transcends the national borders and taxonomy of religion and ethnicity.

Supervisors: Professor Walter Armbrust and Professor Laurent Mignon

Related article: Cho, S. (2019) ‘The Evvel Temmuz Festival: Cooking and Consuming Identity’. Heritage Turkey 9 (December): 10–11.