Past Event

Bridging Academia and Activism through Gender Studies

September 25, 2018
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Room 411, Fayerweather Hall - European Institute - Columbia University

Columbia Global Centers Istanbul invites you to “Bridging Academia and Activism through Gender Studies" with Assoc. Prof. Ayşe Gül Altınay, Director of the Sabancı University Gender and Women’s Studies Center of Excellence and Jean Howard, George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University. This event is co-sponsored by The Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies and The Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality; and Women Creating Change at The Center for the Study of Social Difference.

About the Talk

“Even in the darkest of times we have the right to expect some illumination, and that such illumination may come less from theories and concepts than from the uncertain, flickering, and often weak light that some men and women, in their lives and works, will kindle under almost all circumstances and shed over the time span that was given them on earth.” (Hannah Arendt) 

In conversation with Hannah Arendt’s discussion of the “dark times,” this talk will present a critical reflection of the possibilities and challenges of doing feminism and gender studies in Turkey today. “The time span given us on earth” is shaped by deeply destructive forces, the consequences of which range from climate change to wars, from poverty and precarious living to racist and (hetero)sexist violence. Yet, it is also a time span in which we are witnessing major transformations, especially in relation to conventions on gender and sexuality. Contemporary Turkey marks a place where both the most destructive forces and the most transformative ones find strong expression. The talk will reflect on the challenges and possibilities of doing feminism and gender studies in Turkey today, with specific examples from the experiences of Sabancı University Gender and Women’s Studies Center, and ask some further questions: Where do we see the “illumination”? Why is it important, theoretically and politically, to “see” the illumination and expand on it? What are the possibilities offered by gender studies today to bridge academia and activism, and to enable a space of co-creation, co-resistance, solidarity and transformation? 


Ayşe Gül Altınay

Ayşe Gül Altınay is the Director of SU Gender and Associate Professor of Anthropology teaching in the Gender Studies Ph.D and Cultural Studies BA and MA Programs at Sabancı University. Her research and writing have focused on militarism, memory, violence, gender and sexuality. Among her books are Gendered Wars, Gendered Memories: Feminist Conversations on War, Genocide and Political Violence (co-edited with Andrea Petö, 2016); The Grandchildren: The Hidden Legacy of “Lost” Armenians in Turkey (with Fethiye Çetin, trans. Maureen Freely, 2014), and The Myth of the Military-Nation: Militarism, Gender and Education in Turkey (2004). Since 2013, she has been a part of the Women Mobilizing Memory Working Group of Women Creating Change at the Columbia University Center for the Study of Social Difference and is one of the co-editors of Women Mobilizing Memory (forthcoming, Columbia University Press, 2019). Click here for more information.

Jean Howard

Jean E. Howard is a former Director of the Center for the Study of Social Difference and the George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University where she teaches early modern literature, Shakespeare, feminist studies, and theater history. Howard has authored over fifty essays; and her books include Shakespeare’s Art of Orchestration: Stage Technique and Audience Response (1984); The Stage and Social Struggle in Early Modern England (1994); Engendering a Nation: A Feminist Account of Shakespeare’s English Histories (1997), co-written with Phyllis Rackin; Theater of a City: The Places of London Comedy 1598-1642 (2007), which won the Barnard Hewitt Prize for the outstanding work of theater history for 2008, and Marx and Shakespeare in the Great Shakespeareans series (2012), co-written with Crystal Bartolovich. Click here for more information.