Dr. des. K. Zeynep Sarıaslan


Forschungsprojekt: Journalism at a Distance: Transnational Politics and Making Online News in Exile

Project duration: November 2018 - July 2020, Universität Zürich


Since 01/11/2019
Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher, ZMO, Berlin.
01/10/2016 - 31/07/2019
Assistant, University of Bern Institute of Social Anthropology, Bern.
01/03/2015 - 31/07/2016
Assistant, University of Zurich Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, Zurich.
01/03/2012 - 28/02/2016
Researcher, “Trust and Development in Upper Mesopotamia: Social Impacts of GAP” funded by Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Zurich Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, Zurich.
01/09/2008 - 31/08/2009
Ethnographer, “Towards A Deeper Understanding of Rural Europe” funded by European Union Civil Dialogue Program, Bilkent University Department of Media and Visual Studies, Ankara.
01/04/2008 - 30/04/2008
Interviewer, Project entitled “National Research on Domestic Violence Against Women in Turkey 2008”, Hacettepe University Department of Population Studies, Ankara.
01/02/2006 - 28/02/2006
Research Assistant, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle.


PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Zurich, with the title “Housewives ‘in Progress’: Women’s Work for Women in Southeast Anatolia”
03/2012 - 01/2015
Swiss Doctoral Program in Social Anthropology
MSc in Social Anthropology, Middle East Technical University, with the title “Pamuk’s Kars and Its Others: An Ethnography of Identifications and Perceptions of Ethnicity, Nationalism and Secularism”
BA in Sociology, Middle East Technical University
09/2006 - 02/2007
European Union Erasmus Exchange, University of Groningen


Peer-reviewed conference proceedings

2016: “Housewives ‘in Progress’: Stories of Gender-Balanced Development in Southeast Anatolia” Proceedings of Papers of International Conference on Knowledge and Politics in Gender and Women’s Studies. Ankara: ODTÜ.

Contributions to books

In Press  (In Turkish) “Pamuk’un Kars’ı ve Kar’ın Ötekileri [Pamuk’s Kars and Its Others].” In Sibel Erol ed. Dünya Üzerinde Kar: Kar Üzerine Yazılar, Yapı Kredi Yayınları.

2009:  “Making-do Entrepreneurship: The Case of Bay LeafProduction.” In M. Süha Ünsal and Özge Çelikaslan eds. Rural Europe: Final Academic Articles. Ankara: Bilkent University.

Oral contributions

Contributions to international conferences

2016: Within the "Hot Agenda" of the Field: A Research Project on Qualitative Research and SelfReflexivity, 14th European Association of Social Anthropologists Conference, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, 20-23 July  

2015: Feminist Engagements in Gender-balanced Development in Southeast Anatolia, International Conference on Knowledge and Politics in Gender and Women’s Studies, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, 10 October

2012: Anthropological Curiosities at the Borderland: Kars, Pamuk and Others, Strategies for (Un)Silencing Conference, American University of Armenia, Yerevan, 26 October 

2009: Making-Do Entrepreneurship: The Case of Bay Leaf Production in Pınarova, Rural Europe Final Dissemination Conference, Bilkent University,Ankara

Contributions to national conferences

2017: Ethnography of A Meeting: Conjuring Contexts while Mainstreaming Gender, Annual Conference of the Swiss Anthropological Association, Institut d’Ethnologie Université de Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, 9-11 November

2016: ‘Hanımefendiler’: A Discussion of State Actors at the Center of Gender Policy, Annual Conference of the Swiss Anthropological Association, Institute of Social Sciences, Laboratory of Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne 10-11 November

2012: Feminist Critiques of Turkish Modernism and Development in Southeastern Anatolia, Annual Conference of the Swiss Anthropological Association, Museum der Kulturen Basel and Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel, Basel 30 October-1 November

2010: (In Turkish) El Yordamıyla Girişimcilik: Pınarova’da Defne Yaprağı Üretimi [Making-Do Entrepreneurship: The Case of Bay Leaf Production in Pınarova], I. Antropology Students Congress, Faculty of Language, History and Geography, Ankara University, Ankara, 14-15 May

2008: For the Sake of A Beloved One: Informal Practices of Women around Hacı Bayram Shrine, Social Anthropology Graduate Student Symposium, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, 3 June  

2004: (In Turkish) Dini Ritueller ve Ayin-i Cem’de Kadınların Gündelik Hayatlarının Temsili [Religious Rituals and Representation of Women’s Daily Practices in Ayin-i Cem] X. Sociology Students Congress, Selçuk University, Konya, 8-10 April


Invited talks

2019: Unpoliticized Anger at Invisible Structures: Gender Awareness Workshops for Women and the State in Southeast Turkey, University of Zurich Interdisziplinäres Forschungskolloquium Gender Studies, Zurich, 26September

2018: Guest Lecturer, Neoliberalismus Alaturka: zwischen religiösem Konservatismus, politischer Repression und ökonomischer Wohlfahrt, University of Fribourg Department for Social Anthropology, Fribourg, 2 May

2018: The Forschungskolloquium Islamwissenschaft Schweiz (FoKI) Workshop “Globalization and Regionalization in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies” University of Basel, Basel, 24 March 

2018: Discussant: NCCR On the Move Research Day# 5 Unequal Access to the Labor Market, University of Neuchâtel, 23 March 

2016: Roundtable on Turkey, University of Bern, Institutskolloquium Sozialanthropologie, Bern, 11 October

2016: Housewives ‘in Progress’: Persistence of Turkey’s Gender Regime in the Context of Development, University of Zurich Ethnologiecolloquium, Zurich, 27September

Outreach activities

Films (Research and Editing)

2010: Pınar (8’) Portraying National Identity Documentary Film Workshop, Malmö, 4-2 June (director: Deniz Buga)

2009: Soğanlı Ruins (35’) (director: Ayşe Uslu)

2009: Between Sea and Forest (40’) (director: Ayşe Uslu)

Blog posts

2019: “Local Journalism on ‘Unemployed Kurds’ in Kars”

2017: Thematic Thread on Precarity: “Overlapped Precarities” allegralaboratory.netModeration 

2013: 3rd EU Human Rights Film Days, Diyarbakır, 10 December

2011: 5th Documentarist Film Festival, Istanbul, 1-6 June

2007-2008: Campus Meeting – Anti-Homophobia Days, Middle East Technical University Gender and Women's Studies Student Club Initiative in cooperation with KAOS GL, Ankara

Teaching Experience

University of Bern, Institute of Social Anthropology
Spring 2018
Seminar: Anthropology of News and Journalism
Fall 2017
Discussion Groups: Introduction to Anthropology
Spring 2017
Seminar: Gendered Regimes in Turkey
University of Zurich, Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Spring 2017
Lecture Session: Visual Methods, Introduction to Anthropology II: Method
Spring 2016
Discussion Groups: Introduction to Anthropology II: History
Spring 2015
Seminar: Introduction to Feminist Anthropology
Fall 2014
Seminar: Anthropological Perspectives on Contemporary Turkey

Reviewing Activities

Anthropologica - Journal of Canadian Anthropological Society
Anthropological Theory

Active Memberships in Scientific Societies

Since 2015
European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)
Since 2014
Contemporary MENA Research Network Switzerland (SGMOIK-SSMOCI)
Since 2013
Swiss Anthropological Association (SSE-SEG-SAA)

Organization of Academic Events

Conference: “Komplexität Abbilden Medien, Wissenschaft und die Darstellung von Islam und Nahem Osten” University of Zurich, Zurich
Pre-Workshop Meeting: “Between Precarious Norms and Empowering Alternatives: Strategies and Tactics of Labour Organisation Between National and International Academic Contexts” European Association of Social Anthropologists Annual General Meeting Seminar “On Politics and Precarities in Academia: Anthropological Perspectives” Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern (together with AnthroCollective Bern)
Panel: “Funds, Slogans, and Struggles: Defining a Global Gender Regime” Annual Conference of the Swiss Ethnological Society, Neuchatel (together with Annelies Kuijpers)

Grants Acquired

Swiss National Science Foundation Early Post-doc.Mobility Grant
University of Zurich Ethics Commission, External Lectureship Grant (later transferred to another lecturer)
Middle East Technical University Research Projects Grants
“Qualitative Research and Self-Reflexivity: Within the ‘Hot-Agenda’ of the Field” – Funding for Research Expenses
“Local Perceptions of Transnational and Translocal Cultural Production in Kars” – Funding for Research Expenses


  • Turkish (native)
  • English (fluent)
  • German (elementary)
  • French (elementary)