Aslı Zengin

Aslı Zengin

Visiting Lecturer on Women's Studies and Islam
WSRP Research Associate 2017–18
Asli Zengin

Home institution

Brandeis University

Research project

Sovereigns of Sex: The State, Islam, Family, and Transgender Embodiment in Contemporary Turkey

This project explores the relationship between death, sovereignty, and gendered belonging by focusing on Sunni Muslim transgender people’s deaths, their funeral ceremonies, and burial and mourning practices in Turkey. Specifically, it examines how transgender deaths mark the gendered and sexual limits of belonging in regimes of Islam, family, kinship, and citizenship, and in practices of mourning and grief.


Asli Zengin is currently a post-doctoral fellow in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Program at Brandeis University. After completing her PhD in the Department of Anthropology and the collaborative program in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto, she worked as a Visiting Research Fellow in Sexuality Studies at the Center for Feminist Research at York University.

Dr. Zengin has widely published in edited volumes and peer-review journals, including Anthropologica, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies and Transgender Studies Quarterly. Her first book, which was published in Turkish with the title Iktidarin Mahremiyeti: Istanbul’da Hayat Kadinlari, Seks Isciligi ve Siddet (Intimacy of Power: Women Prostitutes, Sex Work and Violence in Istanbul) is a research on female sex workers and their relations with the Turkish state. Her research interests include the body, gender, sexuality, queer theory, anthropology of law, medical anthropology, the state, violence, and contemporary issues in the Middle East with a special focus on Turkey.

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