Lecture: 'The Production and Economization of Quality in Turkish Olive Oil'

When: September 16, 2022 3:00pm
Brian Silverstein headshot

This event is part of the Fall 2022 Middle Eastern and North African Studies Colloquium Series, and is co-sponsored by the Arizona Center for Turkish Studies and the Center for Regional Food Studies.

Turkey is in the midst of a 'quality turn' in its olive oil sector, as producers seek ways to capture value through what I describe here as processes of qualification. Based on fieldwork with olive oil producers and others in the sector in Ayvalık, Turkey, I show how the qualities of 'high-quality' olive oil are made through human labor, technique and technology. These attempts to stabilize and standardize the experience of taste and smell to align with international norms involve harvesters, producers, chemical compounds, laboratories, international organizations, standards, terminologies, infrastructures, cargo companies, equipment manufacturers, consultants and consumers. Such oil is relatively unfamiliar to many in Turkey, necessitating the formation of a market for it through the economization of its qualities.

Brian Silverstein is an associate professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, where he heads the new Arizona Center for Turkish Studies. He is the author of "Islam and Modernity in Turkey" (2011) and many journal articles. His current research is on Turkey's European Union integration reforms, particularly the politics of statistics.

This event will be held both in Marshall 490 and over Zoom! Please access the registration page by using the link below.

Audience: All


Campus: Main Campus


845 N. Park Avenue
Tucson , AZ
United States
Arizona US

Contact info & links


Julie Ellison-Speight Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Requests for disability-related accommodations should be directed to the event's primary contact: Julie Ellison-Speight