I am indebted to the forty retired poppy farmers who provided me with the wealth of their experiences and memories and to my research assistants, Yüksel, Zuhal, and Augie. My research was supported by the Center for the Advanced Study of International Development, the Center for Gender in a Global Context, and Muslim Studies, all at Michigan State University. Additionally, though not employed directly in the research for this article, it was also informed by opportunities to review archival and document collections pertaining to the period of eradication held in the Washington, D.C. area that were made possible by a short-term fellowship administered by the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in the summer of 2008. I also benefited from the editorial advice of the anonymous reviewers of my manuscript and Craig Colten.
TRADITIONAL ECOLOGIES OF THE OPIUM POPPY AND ORAL HISTORY IN RURAL TURKEY*
Article first published online: 25 MAY 2011
© 2011 by the American Geographical Society of New York
Volume 101, Issue 2, pages 164–182, April 2011
How to Cite
EVERED, K. T. (2011), TRADITIONAL ECOLOGIES OF THE OPIUM POPPY AND ORAL HISTORY IN RURAL TURKEY. Geographical Review, 101: 164–182. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2011.00085.x
- Issue published online: 25 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 25 MAY 2011
- opium poppy;
- oral history;
- political ecology;
Cultivated in the Eastern Mediterranean region for millennia, the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) was profoundly significant in the economies, ecologies, cultures, and diets of the peoples of many towns and villages of rural Anatolia. When the United States compelled Turkey to eradicate cultivation of the plant in the early 1970s in order to diminish the flow of heroin into America, farmers were obliged to deal with not only changes in their incomes but also profound changes in their relationships with the land and the state. Although Turkish officials later allowed production to resume in a highly controlled manner for pharmaceutical purposes, significant socioeconomic and ecological dimensions of Turkey's poppy-growing communities were forever changed. Interviewing now-retired poppy farmers, I employ oral history as my primary source of historical evidence to reconstruct these past ecologies and associated social relationships and to give voice to the informants.