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Department of Social Anthropology



Dr. Sehlikoglu is a social anthropologist specialised in gender and subjectivity in the Middle East, with a background also in sociology. Currently, she is Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah Research Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, in social anthropology and the Middle Eastern studies. 

Sehlikoglu has studied sociology (Boğaziçi University, Istanbul) and anthropology (Concordia University, Montréal) at undergraduate level before completing her Master’s Degree in socio/cultural anthropology and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto and her Ph.D. in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge. 


Her work analyses human subjectivity in relation to seemingly mundane and trivial aspects of everyday life and investigates the creative capacities of human agency. She particularly focuses on desires, aspirations, and longings. My research interests include anthropology theory, religion, subjectivity, gender, Middle East, anthropology of Islam, and leisure.  

She is the recipient of several awards and grants, including a Gibbs Fellowship, a BRISMES (British Institute of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies) Ph.D. Award, a Wadad Kadi Fellowship, a BIAA (British Institute at Ankara) Study Grant, and a Worts Travelling Scholars Fund. 

She has published in edited collections and several journals including Cambridge Journal of Anthropology (2015), the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (2016), Feminist Media Studies (2014), and Leisure Studies (2014). She has also edited journal special issues, predominantly on sexuality and intimacy. The collected volume she is currently co-editing on heteronormativity will be out in 2019.


Key publications: 

Editorial Work

2016. Co- Editor, Special Issue: “Everyday intimacies in the Middle East” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies: 12 (2).

2015. Co- Editor of the Special Issue: “Why Revisit Intimacy?” Cambridge Journal of Anthropology: 33 (2).

2014. Editor, for February Field Notes themed “Sports”Cultural Anthropology.

Refereed Journal Articles

2018. “Revisited: Muslim Women’s Agency and Feminist Anthropology of the Middle East”,Contemporary Islam: 11 (3)

2016. “Exercising in Comfort: Islamicate Culture of Mahremiyet in Everyday Life”, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies: 12 (2).

2016. (Co-Authored with Aslı Zengin) “Introduction: Everyday intimacies in the Middle East”, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. Vol.12: 2.

2015. “Intimate Publics, Public Intimacies: Natural Limits, Creation and the Culture of Mahremiyet in Turkey”, Cambridge Journal of Anthropology: 33 (2).

2015. (Co-Authored with Aslı Zengin) “Introduction: Why Revisit Intimacy?”, Part of “Why Revisit Intimacy?” Special Issue, edited by Sertaç Sehlikoglu and Aslı Zengin. Cambridge Journal of Anthropology: 33 (2).

2014. (Co-Authored with Fahri Karakas) “’We can have the cake and eat it too’: Leisure and spirituality at ‘veiled’ hotels in Turkey”, Leisure Studies, Published Online: 24 Oct. 2014.

2014. (Co-Authored with Sumaya Samie) “Strange, Incompetent and Out-of-Place: Media Representations of Muslim Sportswomen during London 2012”, Feminist Media Studies: (15) 3. Published Online: 9 Sept. 2014.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

2018. “Müslüman Kadının Öznelik Halleri” in Kültür Denen Şey by Ayfer Bartu Candan and Cenk Özbay (Eds), Metis Yayınları, Istanbul.

2016. forthcoming. “Müslüman Kadın’ın Öznelik Halleri” in Kültür Denen Şey by Ayfer Bartu Candan and Cenk Özbay (Eds), Metis Yayınları, Istanbul.

2015. “Contestation and Dichotomies Concerning Women’s Bodies and Sports in Turkey: From Aysun Özbek to Neslihan Darnel” in Sport in Islam and in Muslim Communities by Alberto Testa, Mahfoud Amara (Eds), Taylor and Francis.

2015. “The Daring Mahrem: Changing Dynamics of Public Sexuality in Turkey” in Gender and Sexuality in Muslim Cultures by Gul Ozyegin (Ed), Ashgate.

2014. “Using Web 2.0 for Research and Networking on Muslim Women in Sports: The Case of Muslim Women in Sports Blog (MWIS)”, in Women and the Politics of Sports by Homa Hoodfar (Ed), WLUML Publications.

2014. “Female Bodies and the State Power: The Case of Women-Only Sport Centers of Istanbul”, in Women and the Politics of Sports by Homa Hoodfar (Ed), WLUML Publications.

2014. “Mahrem Alanda Fit Olmak” (Becoming Fit in Private Space) in Sınır Bilgisi: Siyasal İktidar, Toplumsal Mekân ve Kadına Yönelik Şiddet (Border Knowledge:Political Power, Social Space and Violence Against Women) by Elif Çelebi, Didem Havlioğlu ve Ebru Kayaalp (Eds), Ayizi Publications, Istanbul.

2010. “Recreation and Identity: Fun Practices of Young Veiled Montréalers”, in Volume 5: Stories From Montréal by Maike Storks (Ed), Tulipe Press, Montréal.



2015. Book Review “The Rise of Political Islam in Turkey: Urban Poverty, Grassroots Activism and Islamic Fundamentalism” by Kayhan Delibas, International Affairs, Vol.91/4

2015. Dissertation Review. “The Construction Of Gendered Subjectivities Of Female Broadcast Professionals Within TRT (1964 – 1989)”, by Özlem Akkaya. PhD Dissertation submitted to Boğaziçi University 2013, 455 pp. Dissertation Reviews.

2013. Book Review “Harem Histories: Envisioning Places and Living Spaces” by Marilyn Booth (Ed), Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Fall, Vol. 9/3.

Other Scholarly Publications

2014. “Sports - Deviation: Imagining the Self as Sporting Body"  in Fieldsights - Field Notes on Sports by Sertaç Sehlikoglu (Ed), Cultural Anthropology Online, March 02, 2014.

2013. “Kissing the Mahrem in Ankara”. In An Impromptu Uprising: Ethnographic Reflections on the Gezi Park Protests in Turkey by Yael Navaro-Yashin and Umut Yıldırım (Eds), Fieldsights - Hot Spots, Cultural Anthropology Online, October 31, 2013.

2013. “Exercise and Female Sexuality in Relation to Segregation, Proximity and Exclusion” in Anthropology News, In Focus on Public and Private, September.

2012. “Boundaries of a Veiled Female Body: Islamic Reflections on Women’s Sporting Bodies in Relation to Sexuality, Modesty and Privacy” in Anthropology News, In Focus on Sports and Olympics, August.

Teaching and Supervisions


Dr. Sehlikoglu is affiliated lecturer at the department of Social Anthropology and teaching associate at the Centre of Gender Studies. She also teaches for Cambridge Muslim College and the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. 

She teaches the following lectures and seminars at the department:

  • SAN3: World Theory, Ibn Khaldoun and Classical Arab Scholarship (Lent W6, 1 hour)
  • SAN4C: Gender, Subjectivity, and Piety
  • SAN5: Anthropology of Desire 
  • SAN12: Gender and Sexuality 
  • SAN4C: Anthropology of the Middle East (co-chairs the seminars with Dr. Navaro)

She has also supervised MPhil students and acted as internal and external examiner to the mid-Viva (second year) PhD students. She has supervised SAN3 and SAN5 in earlier years, and chaired MPhil Paper 2: Systems of Power and Knowledge: Anthropology and Religion

Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah Research Fellow in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Pembroke College
Affiliated Lecturer, Social Anthropology
Teaching Associate, Centre for Gender Studies
Dr Sertaç  Sehlikoglu