19 Jun
15:30 - 17:30

Vectors of Change: Aslı Zengin

On June 19, the Centre for Gender & Diversity hosts a lecture series featuring Aslı Zengin on her new book, Violent Intimacies: The Trans Everyday and the Making of an Urban World. This event is co-organised with the Globalisation Transnationalism and Development (GTD) research programme.

In Violent Intimacies, Aslı Zengin traces how trans people in Turkey creatively negotiate and resist everyday cisheteronormative violence. Drawing on the history and ethnography of the trans communal life in Istanbul, Zengin develops an understanding of cisheteronormative violence that expands beyond sex, gender and sexuality. She shows how cisheteronormativity forms a connective tissue among neoliberal governmentality, biopolitical and necropolitical regimes, nationalist religiosity and authoritarian management of social difference. As much as trans people are shaped by these processes, they also transform them in intimate ways. Transness in Turkey provides an insightful site for developing new perspectives on statecraft, securitization and surveillance, family and kin-making, urban geography, and political life. Zengin offers the concept of violent intimacies to theorize this entangled world of the trans everyday where violence and intimacy are co-constitutive. Violent intimacies emerge from trans people’s everyday interactions with the police, religious and medical institutions, street life, family and kinship, and trans femicides and funerals. The dynamic of violent intimacies prompts new understandings of violence and intimacy and the world-making struggles of trans people in a Middle Eastern context.

Aslı Zengin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Before joining Rutgers, she held postdoctoral positions at Brown, Harvard, and Brandeis Universities. Her first book, Intimacy of Power: Women Prostitutes, Sex Work and Violence in İstanbul (Iktidarin Mahremiyeti: Istanbul’da Hayat Kadinlari, Seks Isciligi ve Siddet), was published in Turkish. Her new book, Violent Intimacies: The Trans Everyday and the Making of an Urban World is recently published by Duke University Press. Her research lies at the intersection of ethnography of sex/gender non-conforming lives and deaths; medico-legal regimes of sex, gender and sexuality; critical studies of violence and sovereignty; politics of mourning and grief; as well as transnational feminist and LGBTQ movements in the Middle East with a special focus on Turkey.