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Woman, Outsider, Researcher: Navigating Complexities of Feminist Ethnographic Research into Masculinities in the Turkey-Georgia Borderlands

February 13 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

This presentation will focus on the complexities of conducting feminist ethnographic research on gender, men, and masculinities. The talk is inspired by my six-month-long PhD dissertation fieldwork in Hopa, a small town at the Turkey-Georgia borderland, exploring the reconfiguration of gender and masculinities since the opening of this border in 1989. I will shed light on how my intersecting positionalities as a woman, an outsider, and an academic researcher introduce gendered openings and challenges in the field. These relations detail the multiple and overlapping methodological conundrums of undertaking feminist research with men as a woman, and the intricacies of studying gender and masculinities in a patriarchal and hyper-masculine context. By emphasizing diverse research encounters, including those based on gendered power dynamics, I draw attention to the often-overlooked vulnerabilities of women researchers in the field, and highlight the connections between research experiences and broader structural inequalities, and the merit of a feminist methodology involving research with men. The talk calls for more gender-sensitive discussions on research methodologies.

About the speaker:

Pinar EnsariPınar Ensari is a visiting researcher from Koç University in Turkey, who will be at BSIA this academic year and collaborating with Suzan Ilcan. She is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Koç University in Turkey. She obtained double BA degrees in Philosophy and Political Science & International Relations from Boğaziçi University and an MA degree in Cultural Studies from Sabancı University.

Prior to her PhD studies, Pınar worked as a Project Coordinator in several non-profit organizations in Turkey, focusing on hate speech, human rights, strengthening the capacity of civil society, and philanthropy.

During her PhD, Pınar engaged in extensive research activities and conducted fieldwork in different parts of Turkey. She worked at the Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoC) as a researcher in a Horizon 2020 Project titled MIGNEX, exploring the relationship between migration and development in 10 countries of origin and transit. Additionally, she contributed as a researcher at Sabancı University‘s Gender and Women’s Studies Center for Excellence (SU Gender) in a Horizon 2020 Project titled RESISTIRE. This project delved into the gendered inequalities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 30 European countries and involved co-designing solutions to be deployed by policymakers, stakeholders, and actors in the field.

Pınar’s research interests encompass borders and borderlands, cross-border mobility, migration, gender, and masculinities. Her dissertation focuses on the rapid social transformation and reconfiguration of gender and masculinities in Hopa, after the opening of the Turkey-Georgia border in 1989, with particular attention to cross-border mobility and trade.

She is one of the co-editors of the “(Better) Stories from the Pandemic” (Örebro University Press, 2023) and has also published on diverse topics such as migration policy, migration and development nexus, Kurdish issues, and hate speech.

Sarp Border Gate Border gate providing connection between Türkiye and Georgia.


February 13
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON Canada
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