Research Bio

You can find my CV here.

(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. After brief stints in Washington DC think-tanks and NGOs, I applied for graduate school to pursue my interest in exploring the intersection between media and religious organizations particularly in Turkey. I commenced my graduate work first at New York University’s Hagob Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. During these studies I explored how religious and political personalities perform and act during live events. 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 pursued another Master’s, this time at Columbia University’s  in order further explore my interest in the relationship between religion and media. This time, my focus was on transnational religious movements and their use of online tools.

(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. I became fascinated with the lack there of knowledge I 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. My prognosis was good and within two years I recovered. As a result of this experience I changed by research agenda and started exploring communication and media about cancer. The first phase of exploring this interest led to my specialization exams 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 iconic science institution was going through. The organizational reps talked about how they were using transferring human tumors into animal bodies – their breed of NSG mice- to understand and cure cancer.

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 to conduct research for my dissertation. During this time, I observed and chronicled their transformation of the Jackson Laboratory from a basic science institution into a organization at the frontier of genomic and personalized medicine. I examined the relationship between mice, patients and particularly tumors. I chronicled the shifts of organizational culture and communication practices.

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 model pedagogical approaches in higher education exploring particularly about how to transform classrooms into global and civic spaces.

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