New Director & Fall Programming for Keyman Modern Turkish Studies

September 18, 2015

We are excited to announce the Buffett Institute’s Keyman Program in Modern Turkish Studies has a new director, new course offerings, and exciting events lined up for the 2015-2016 academic year. Visit the Keyman Program website for more news and updates throughout the year. 

The Buffett Institute welcomes Ayça Alemdaroğlu to Northwestern

Ayça Alemdaroğlu Keyman ProgramAyça Alemdaroğlu joins the Buffett Institute as the Keyman Program’s new associate director. She completed her PhD in sociology at the University of Cambridge. Before coming to Northwestern, Ayça was a post-doctoral fellow and lecturer in anthropology and the Thinking Matters Program at Stanford University. She was also previously a visiting scholar in the Department of Sociology at New York University.

Born and raised in Ankara, Ayça studied political science and sociology in the Middle East Technical University and Bilkent University. Her research has focused on Turkey and engaged with a broad range of theoretical and ethnographic issues. These include youth culture and politics, gender and sexuality, constructions of space and place, experiences of modernity, nationalism, eugenics, and higher education. The concern in much of her work is with the ways in which social inequality is produced and reproduced through bodies, places and institutions and informs the experiences of ordinary people.

New Courses in Modern Turkish Studies

In addition to running programs and events for Modern Turkish Studies, Ayça is teaching two courses in Weinberg College in the winter and spring quarters of 2016. Both courses will help students develop an interdisciplinary understanding of contemporary social issues in Turkey and the Middle East:

From Tahrir to Taksim: Cities and Citizens in the Middle East

This course explores historical formation of cities and citizenry in the Middle East since the 19th century. It studies urban development, economy, social classes and politics in Egypt and Turkey with a focus on two world-historical cities, Cairo and Istanbul. Drawing mostly on readings in history, anthropology and sociology, it examines how urban space in Egypt and Turkey was reconfigured through histories of colonialism, nationalism, developmentalism, and globalization with a particular attention to urban immigration, informality, gendered places, consumption, urban regeneration, local politics, and branding the city. These topics are studied in relation to two main questions: How do spatial changes engender new social practices and redefine cultural difference and vice versa?; How do power struggles at the intersection of local and global interests shape urban change?

Gender in the Middle East

This course explores the construction of gender in the Middle East. Drawing on the historical, sociological and anthropological research in the region, the course aims to question stereotypes about the subordination of Muslim women and to explore the political, economic and cultural structures that inform gender relations and sexuality. The course starts with an examination of early Islam and religious sources with regard to women’s status, then moves on to nationalist and modernization movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, and finally focuses on women and men’s lives in contemporary Egypt, Turkey and Iran. In this framework, special attention is given to Islamist mobilizations, the family, sexuality, neoliberalism, women’s labor and LGBT.

Keyman Program sponsors Art, Politics, & Public Space: Istanbul & Chicago

Art, Politics, and Public Space trip to Istanbul BiennialThe Keyman Program is also funding the fall 2015 course Art, Politics, and Public Space: Istanbul & Chicago. Led by Buffett faculty affiliate Jessica Winegar, the course explores how artists and art itself work to create publics through politics of different scales. As part of the course, undergraduate students travel to Turkey (pictured) for the international Istanbul Biennial, visit nation-oriented museums in Istanbul and Chicago, look at street art in Istanbul, Chicago, and Evanston, and engage in dialogue with artists in all three locations. The Keyman Program and the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities provided transportation, lodging, and a stipend for all students to travel to Istanbul September 9-16.

Introducing Fall 2015 Keyman Visiting Scholar

Başak YavcanThis fall, the Keyman Program hosts Başak Yavçan from the TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara. She is teaching a course in International Studies titled Politics and Securitization of Immigration. The course is intended to develop an understanding of the governance of immigration as it relates to international cooperation and domestic politics. It will explore the impact of militarized disputes, economic crises, and terrorist activities on international cooperation on immigration. In addition to teaching, Başak will be a featured speaker this fall at the Buffett Institute's Faculty & Fellows Colloquium, where she will discuss her research on Syrian refugees in Turkey on October 23.

Başak received her PhD from University of Pittsburgh with a focus on comparative politics and international relations. She specializes in comparative political behavior, mostly in relation to inter-group relations in the forms of public opinion toward immigration and the European Union (EU) and comparative immigrant acculturation attitudes. She published several articles, reports, and book chapters on German attitudes towards immigration, on public opinion towards Turkish accession in the EU, on the effect of newspaper frames on Euroskepticism in Germany and Turkey, and on the role of social inclusion in bolstering institutional trust among European Muslims. Her current research focuses on the inter-group dynamics resulting from the mass influx of Syrian refugees in Turkey with an emphasis on the societal and political attitudes of Syrian displaced people.

Turkish Events at Northwestern for Fall 2015

Lip Sewing and Truth TellingIn partnership with MENA Studies at Northwestern, the Keyman Program will be hosting two lectures this Fall: Seeking Asylum: Lip Sewing and Truth-Telling by Banu Bargu (The New School for Social Research) on October 12 and Governing Islam Abroad: The Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and Diaspora Islam in France and Germany by Benjamin Bruce (Sciences Po) on November 9. 

The Keyman Program is also holding a nationwide photo contest for university students titled Streets of Turkey. The Program seeks photos of everyday life on the streets of Turkey that portray human interactions with each other and with their environment in a single illustrative and well-composed image. More specific themes may include labor, urban redevelopment, social inequality, youth pastimes, gender, or architecture. Prizes will be awarded to the best photos, with the top prize being $500. Photos can be submitted to turkishstudies@northwestern.edu until the deadline of March 25, 2016. Check out the full description of the contest for more details.

Asia, Europe, For Graduate Students, Human Rights, Middle East, Migration, Peace/Conflict, Undergraduate Students