• Zengin, Aslı
  • Assistant Professor
  • 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, Dr. Zengin held postdoctoral and teaching positions at Brown, Harvard, and Brandeis Universities. Her first book, Intimacy of Power: Women Prostitutes, Sex Work and Violence in İstanbul, was 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. Her second book, Violent Intimacies: The Trans Everyday and the (Un)Making of an Urban World is forthcoming in 2023 from Duke University Press. This book 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 trans lives, deaths, and activism in Turkey.

Selected Publications

Forthcoming Caring for the Dead: Corpse Washers, Touch and Mourning in Contemporary Turkey, Feminist Mournings Special Issues, eds. Jyoti Puri and Kimberly Juanita Brown, Meridians: Feminism, Race and Transnationalism, 21(2).

2022 Death and Afterlives in the Middle East: An Introduction, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 42(1).

2022 The Cemetery for the Kimsesiz: Anonymous and Unknown Death in Turkey, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 42(1).

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

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.