Research Bio

You can find my CV here: ekin-cv

(1) Religious Groups, Politics and Media: I moved to the US from Turkey in 1999 to attend Georgetown University’s Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service. There I attained a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service. During my time as an undergraduate at Washington DC, I realized that my interests lied more with thinking about politics as opposed to practicing it. After brief stints in Washington DC think-tanks and NGOs, I applied for graduate school to pursue my interest in exploring the relationship with media and religion, particularly in forms of media in Turkey. I commenced my graduate work at New York University’s Hagob Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. During these studies I explored how religious and political personalities would appear on television. I particularly focused on the aspects an amnesiac violence and theatricality during the broadcast of Merve Kavakci’s (the first veiled female parliamentarian in Turkey) swearing-in ceremonies. After finishing my Master’s in Near Eastern Studies, I moved on to Columbia University’s master’s program in order further pursue my interest in the relationship between religion and media. This time, my focus was on Fethullah Gulen’s movement and their use of online space. I particularly wanted to understand the difference between their publicity website and website’s more frequently followed and prepared for the movement’s followers.

(2) Organizational Logics, Science Communication and Visual Culture: I started the PhD program at New York University’s Media, Culture and Communication department in the Fall of 2008 to work closely with my advisor Allen Feldman. Shortly before I began the program, I was diagnosed with cancer. In an interesting way, my doctoral work coincided with a time in which I became exposed to various biomedical practices as these practices and systems were involved in treating my body. In this time period and as a result of my health history, I became fascinated with the lack there of knowledge I previously had towards the institutions of biomedicine and how unequipped I was to understand and to critique institutions that played a structuring role in sustaining my health. I volunteered my leftover specimen for research never to really find out where and how it was used. My prognosis was good and within two years I recovered. As I still had interest in my previous fields of study, I was also drawn into the fields of scientific inquiry. As a result of the intersection of the beginning of my doctoral work with these experiences I became interested in Visual Culture of Science, particularly of tumors and cancer.  In the first phase of exploring this interest,  I completed my specialization exams both within the fields of Visual Culture (with Prof. Allen Feldman) and in Science and Technology Studies (with Prof. Mara Mills).

In the late spring of 2010, I was invited – on account of my health history – by a friend to a small community event organized by Jackson Laboratory in New York. I attended this event to find out about the transition that this particular institution was going through- namely the translational approaches to science they were trying to bring to their on-going scientific research projects on mice by creating connections with human patients. In order to do so, they were transferring human tumors into animal bodies – their breed of NSG mice I approached the organizers after the event and inquired about visiting the institution. After I got their permission, I visited the Jackson Laboratory’s outpost in Bar Harbor, ME for every summer for three years. During this time, I observed and chronicled their transformation from a basic science institution into a organization at the frontier of genomic medicine involved in developing the next generation of cancer cures.I particularly wanted to understand the relationship as it manifested itself in various instances in this particular institutions between mice, patients and particularly tumors- something in this institution that was transplanted from humans to mice for research. I chronicled the shifts in organizational culture and communication. I also explored, using this case study, practices of mediatization of discussions about cancer particularly within the realm of promotional materials produced by such scientific institutions.  I explored how such mediatization may be used to cloak iffy practices within this institution. I presented reflections based on this research in a number of national and international conferences. I completed  and defended my dissertation titled The Dying Patient, The Invincible Mouse and Tumor Media: Representation of Cancer Research at the Human-Animal Crossroads.

(3) Pedagogical Research about Global Classrooms: As I develop versions inspired by this research, I also have been developing a research agenda particularly focusing on best pedagogical approaches within college classrooms thinking particularly about how to transform classrooms into global and civic spaces.

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