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Gender Studies Seminar: Aslı Zengin (Brandeis University)





Violent Intimacies: Transgender Embodiment, Medico-Legal World and the State in Contemporary Turkey


Aslı Zengin

Allen-Berenson Post-Doctoral Fellow
Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Brandeis University


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

15:00  FASS 2034


In Turkey, there is little institutional room for ambiguous or ambivalent sex and gender. The state is active in producing and deploying medico-legal projects that constantly strive to disambiguate the ambiguously sexed and gendered bodies, and recruit them as unambiguous heteronormative national subjects. These medico-legal projects of disambiguation involve gender reassignment surgery, obligatory sterilization, vaginal check, change of ID, and the production and promotion of things like “good” and “proper” relationships. Focusing on these domains, this presentation will discuss how the dominant categories of sex and gender gain definition through the formation of violent intimacies and proximities between the Turkish state and transgender people. Overall, I will argue that sexual and gender non-conformity and ambiguity are integral to the formation and intimate workings of Turkish state power as the state seeks to govern and regulate not only bodies and sexuality, but also its subjects’ intimate conducts and desires.


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