Sabancı Üniversitesi


Cultural Studies MA students' conference participation

Published on 27.06.2014 16:20

Cultural Studies MA Student İlkim Karakuş has attended the “Rethinking Intellectual Activism” conference organized by UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) in US on April 12.


İlkim Karakuş has presented a paper titled “Critique of Exploitation Sponsored by Exploitation: Negotiation of Assistantship among Sabancı University Cultural Studies MA Students in Turkey”.


Click the links below for conference program:


Abstract of the presentation:


Bourdieu, in “The Scholastic Point of View” focuses on the unequal access to the scholastic point of view, and underlines how that access itself is embedded in the social relations of power. In line with his call  to be aware of  the “social conditions of possibility of the scholastic point of view” and not assuming to be “epistemic partners” with people we work with, this study is formulated as a dialogic enterprise with the Cultural Studies MA Students.


As MA Students who do not fit into the categories of either student or assistants, we concur, resent and find it ironic that our advancement in the “scholastic point of view” is dependent on us getting exploited. Building on different approaches articulated, this study focuses on the question of “how does 'knowing exactly what is going on' shape our experience?”.


Following this question and the resentment it unravels, I argue that the irony we find in the fact that our advancement in scholastic point of view depends on us getting exploited, is grounded on our expectation of academia as a place free of all inequalities and exploitation we criticize. This, in turn, points to the distance we attach to academia, and relatedly to ourselves. In our context, then, acknowledging and being aware of the “social conditions of the possibility of scholastic point of view” is even more relevant, because the irony and resentment can emerge only if we assume a distance which is dependent on forgetting the social conditions of the possibility of scholastic point of view.




Cultural Studies MA student Pınar Budan has attended “Irony: Framing (post)modernity” conference organized by the Catholic University of Portugal, Faculty of Human Sciences in Lisbon/Portugal on January, 23-24.

Pınar Budan presented a paper entitled “Irony as a Medium of Empowerment and Disempowerment in 2013 Gezi Park Protests” at the conference.

Click the link below for the conference program:


Abstract of the presentation:

On May 30th 2013, İstanbul and its inhabitants experienced a public uprising against the government which later to be known as the Gezi Protests.  People gathered in Taksim Gezi Park, which is one of the last green areas in İstanbul's densely populated central district named Beyoğlu, in order prevent the destruction of the park. It was a reaction to protect the park and simultaneously an act of resistance against government's neoliberal policies.  A number of environmentalists confronted the police forces and tried to prevent the cutting of trees. The protests quickly spread to the whole country and people from all over Turkey held banners saying “Occupy Gezi Park.” Ironically, some of these protesters had no idea about the Gezi Park, and even a small number of people did not even know what the initial event was about. In this respect, what makes the event in Istanbul significant is the fact that the main signifier that triggered the events constitutes a loose ground onto which people could project multiple meanings.  In an age where globalization processes are contributing to the disjunction of politics from power, the Gezi Park events constitutes a chaotic terrain. This uncertainty gives people new hopes and opportunities for political engagement.  On the other hand, the ways in which the Gezi Park events were experienced and suppressed creates a situational irony. One of these is the fact that the chemicals that are released from the tear-gas bombs used by police and some of the mediums used by protesters give environmental damages. The protests against an environmental disaster, causes another environmental disaster. As it might be suggested that the mediums used by the protesters is a reaction towards government's use of brutal force and that the violence produces violence, it is significant to demonstrate the irony in some kind of revolutionary movement's way of thinking and the contradiction between the purpose and the medium. In my paper, I will demonstrate the examples of these situational ironies which unravels the impossibilities of the system and I propose to discuss the effects and results of these examples at different levels.

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