I have a BSc in International Relations (METU) and an MA in Political Science and Public Administration (Bilkent University). Prior to my decision to return to academia, I have had almost 15 years of experience working as a critical development practitioner, civil society professional and activist.
My work has spanned a number of diverse, but interrelated fields, including gender equality and elimination of violence against women, community-based conservation and rural livelihoods, refugee empowerment and civil society capacity building. I have worked in various local and international organizations, including European Women's Lobby, FRIDA-the Young Feminist Fund, International Medical Corps, BirdLife International, as well as UNDP and UNFPA.
Over the last decade, I led and supervised 27 social development projects and campaigns. In this period, I have also prepared and delivered trainings for hundreds of activists and public officials on gender mainstreaming, Project Cycle Management (PCM), monitoring & evaluation and reporting. As a firm believer in the value of writing for popular audiences, I have authored various op-eds, in addition to two handbooks for activists and policy-makers, and chapters in edited books.
I am still involved in various rights-based movements.
My academic research interests broadly include meaning-making processes in collective mobilization, grassroots resistance to energy generation-induced dispossession, human-nature relations and socio-environmental conflicts under capitalism and neoliberalism, and political economy of gender and sexuality.
My PhD research explores movement ideologies in grassroots, local resistances to state-commissioned, privately-undertaken hydropower projects from the mid-2000s onwards in Turkey. This period has witnessed the entrenchment of neoliberalism in various walks of life in Turkey, notable examples of which are the liberalization of the energy market and privatization of the commons. In my research, I have a comparative framework which looks at three such resistance movements led by local communities in three different towns with diverse cultural, political and economic dynamics in Northeast Turkey. I aim to make sense of the interplay between (ethno-religious, class and politico-cultural) identities and concerns for livelihoods risked by hydropower projects in shaping the ideologies of resistance to these projects in different and similar ways in each local movement. Drawing on the literatures on social movements, political ecology, as well as identity and ideology, I hope to contribute to the knowledge on the various ideational frameworks of grassroots resistance to neoliberalism in the Global South. My research employs a qualitative methodology, which involves semi-structured interviews with movement participants, participant observation and document analysis. Epistemologically and ontologically, I place myself in the tradition of critical realism.
My PhD research is funded by the University of Essex Social Sciences Doctoral Scholarship. Over the last three years, I presented some of my findings in the ECPR Annual Conference in Oslo (2017), BSA Annual Conference in Newcastle (2018), XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology in Toronto (2018), COSMOS/Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence (2018), Alternative Futures and Popular Protest Conference in the University of Manchester (2019), University of Essex Human Rights Research Cluster Conference (2019), LSE Department of Government Contentious Politics Workshop (2020) and CPERN (Critical Political Economy Research Network) 2020 Midterm Workshop.
The modules/topics I have taught in higher education include:
2020-2021: 'Methodology in the Social Sciences' (Politics and International Studies, SOAS University of London)
2020-2021: 'Development from Below' (Development Studies, SOAS University of London)
2019-2020: 'Critical Reasoning in Contemporary Development Studies (Development Studies, SOAS University of London)
2019-2020: 'European Colonialism', 'Who are Europeans?' and 'Expanding the Borders: Immigration, Rights and Citizenship' as Guest Lecturer in the European Studies Program (Interdisciplinary Studies Centre, University of Essex)
2019-2020: Research Methods in Management and Marketing (Business School, University of Essex)
2019: International Relations Theories and Approaches (Government, University of Essex)
2018-2019: Sociology of Crime and Control (Sociology, University of Essex)
2018: Introduction to United States Sociology (Sociology, University of Essex)
2017-2018: Race, Class and Gender (Sociology, University of Essex)
I was the Outreach Lead/Senior Research Officer in CRESI (Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation) at University of Essex in 2018-2019.
I am a member of the Human Rights Centre Doctoral Affiliates Network at University of Essex.