Oct 28, 2016
from 04:15 PM to 06:00 PM
|Where||Edmund Leach Seminar Room, Social Anthropology|
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Dr Sertaç Sehlikoglu
(University of Cambridge)
Desiring Muslim Women: Agency and Feminist Theory
The anthropological and feminist scholarship on the Middle East has long been interested in the question of women's agency. Abu-Lughod’s (2013) and Mahmood’s (2005) most recent interventions, however, have brought this question into the mainstream of anthropological theory. This paper engages with, and expands on, the agency debate. Moving beyond recent critiques of ethical self-fashioning, it unpacks the notion of ‘desiring subjectivity’, the human capacity to desire, to aspire, to long. Drawing on ethnographic work with a broad and diverse group of Istanbulite women it traces and examines their spor merakı (interest in exercise). Spor merakı provides a lens through which to conceptualise the ways in which women manifest their desiring selves, configure individual aspirations, and negotiate multiple, interelated fashions, tastes, and ways of being in their everyday lives in a metropolitan city.