Welcome to the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

  • Portrait
  • Assistant Professor
  • Email: asli.zengin@rutgers.edu
  • Tel: : 848-932-9331
  • Office: RDJC
  • Research Interests: Zengin's research lies at the intersection of ethnography of trans, queer, sex worker and sex/gender transgressive lives; scientific and legal regimes of sex, gender and sexuality; critical studies of violence and sovereignty; death, funerals, cemeteries and afterlives; as well as transnational aspects of LGBTQ and feminist movements in the Middle East with a special focus on Turkey.
  • Education: Ph.D. in Anthropology and the collaborative program in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Toronto



Biographical Notes

Before joining Rutgers, Zengin was the Louise Lamphere Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Pembroke Center at Brown University and held postdoctoral fellowships in the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Brandeis University. 

Her first book, Intimacy of Power: Women Prostitutes, Sex Work and Violence in İstanbulwas published in Turkish in 2011. In this book, she examines the regulation of licensed and unlicensed sex work at the intersection of state power, law, medicine and violence. Currently Zengin is completing her second book manuscript Violent Intimacies: Transgender Lives, Family and the State in Contemporary Turkey, which examines how everyday troubles with sex/gender nonconformity in social and institutional life shape the organization of state power, the social production of family and kinship, the religious order, and the transgender lives, deaths, and activism in Turkey.

Selected Publications

Forthcoming Gender Minorities, In the Handbook on Women in the Middle East, eds. Suad Joseph and Zeina Zataari, London: Routledge. 

2020 A Field of Silence: Secrecy, Intimacy and Sex Work in Turkey, Feminist Studies, 46(2): 1- 26. 

2020 Turkish Cemeteries for the “Unknown”_#Afterlives, Allegra Lab 

2019 The Afterlife of Gender: Sovereignty, Intimacy and Muslim Funerals of Transgender People in Turkey, Cultural Anthropology, 34(1): 78-102. 

2016 Violent Intimacies: Tactile State Power, Sex/Gender Transgression and the Politics of Touch in Contemporary Turkey, the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 12 (2): 225-245.



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