Department of Politics
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Pınar is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Leverhulme-Trust-funded project Rethinking Civil Society: History, Theory, Critique at the Department of Politics, University of York, where she examines Western and non-Western feminist critiques of the civil society.
Pınar completed her PhD at the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, where she specialized in Political Theory and Comparative Politics. Pınar’s research spans multiple disciplines (most notably politics, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, religion, and law) and closely interweaves comparative political theory with ethnographic empirical research. Her main interest targets the dynamics of feminist solidarity and disagreement between women’s rights groups in deep-rooted politico-religious conflict and how these groups interact with each other in the civil society. In doing so, Pınar examines identity-building aspect of feminist activism in the civil society as well as gradual and iterative transformations of political prejudice and distrust during such encounters. In her theoretical research, Pınar aims to bring together postcolonial, post-Orientalist theories of feminist subjectivity and deliberative democracy from an alternative relational psychoanalytic approach. In her dissertation, entitled “Thinking Beyond the Secular-Pious Divide: A relational Study within and in-between Secular Feminists and Pious Feminists in Turkey,” Pınar focused on the alternative vocabularies of the disagreement between secular/Kemalist feminists and Islamic/pious women’s civil society groups in the women’s rights movement in Turkey.
Pınar also holds degrees in Economics, International Relations, and European Studies. Prior to her PhD, she worked as a research fellow at Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) and interned at UNHCR in Istanbul, Turkey.
Can the women’s movement transform deeply divisive disagreements, considered against the growingly conservative state policies and regulation of gender norms? How can shared civil society encounters among women’s groups in radical political disagreement expand imaginative capacities and enlarge horizons of judgment, and in this way, foster pluralism? In the intersection of theory and ethnography, I explore these questions in the context of the secular-religious divide in the women’s civil society in Turkey. I particularly analyze how secular and strictly-observant religious women’s rights organizations perceive the two groups’ shared encounters in the civil society and investigate if the civil society can provide a platform for both groups to collaborate on the same project by mutual consent and as equal partners despite their current unwillingness to collaborate. As a part of this project, I am working on an article-length project about the significance of the civil society as a feminist space of conflict resolution. My ethnographic empirical findings suggest that “feminist iterations” (based on Benhabib’s concept of democratic iterations) can potentially lead to (1) pluralization of feminist judgment, as well as, (2) deeper cultivation of distrust and unwillingness for future cooperation. I explore this dual significance of civil society in the feminist thought, democratic theory, postcolonial theory, and comparative political theory with examples from both Western and non-Western settings.
My current research also aims to formulate a broader relational approach on feminist autonomy and feminist friendship that can be shared between secular and religious/strictly-observant Muslim women. To pursue this task, my work will expand the theoretical scope of my dissertation in a way that brings together the two sides and (2) move towards developing a more comprehensive relational framework on autonomy and friendship.