Birkan Taş is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Kassel, leading the research project ‘Disability and Interdependence: AssistanceDogs’. He holds a BA in Psychology from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and an MA in Cultural Studies from Istanbul Bilgi University. He completed his PhD thesis at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (University of Amsterdam), which focused on the temporal, political, and affective dynamics of the concept of hope.
His thesis criticizes the instrumentalization of hope as exclusively forward-looking, individualizing, and depoliticizing and attempts to restore hope as a critical resource that has the potential to contribute to theories of time, affect, and knowledge production. His research interests encompass theories of gender and sexuality, human-animal studies, as well as the politics of temporality in disability and queer theory.
Affiliated Project 2018-20
The project aims to create a dialogue between critical animal studies and disability studies by looking at the intersections of oppression, ableism, and speciesism in human and nonhuman animal relations.
Taş will explore the ethical, environmental, and political issues embedded in these two disciplines by engaging with the concepts of vulnerability, interdependence, and care work and by focusing on the representations of service animals and disabled animals in popular culture.
Temporal Politics of Disability
ICI Project 2016-18
This project explores the politics of crip time by analyzing three dominant temporal discourses within which experiences of disability are restricted: diagnosis, prognosis, and curative time. Challenging the temporal direction from getting old and becoming disabled towards ageing with disabilities, this textual analysis will investigate creative, destabilizing, and unpredictable instances of crip time and elucidate the links between bodily (un)timings and imagining alternative futures for disability.
Using a number of objects of analysis from disability activism, art, and educational programs of museums for disabled people (Van Abbe Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Taş will focus on the ways in which temporal dissonances, transgressions, and re-appropriations within disabled embodiments contest and re-imagine progressive, interventionist, and functionalist framings of time. This temporal exploration has largely been untouched within disability studies, despite its potential of producing new alliances, subject positions, and desires.