Innovating STS in Turkey: Boundaries, Translations, and Temporalities

Cite as

Kasdogan, Duygu, and Aybike Alkan. 2019. “Innovating STS in Turkey: Boundaries, Translations, and Temporalities.” In Innovating STS Digital Exhibit, curated by Aalok Khandekar and Kim Fortun. Society for Social Studies of Science. August.

Essay Map

Essay Meta-Narrative

Elaborations, Methods, Reflections

Essay Bibliography

Shared Questions: Innovating STS

All Innovating STS exhibits are oriented by nine shared questions in order to generate comparative insight. These are:

ARTICULATION: What STS innovations (of theory, methodology, pedagogy...Read more

About Innovating STS

Furthering its theme, Innovations, Interruptions, Regenerations , the 2019 annual 4S meeting in New Orleans will include a special exhibit, Innovating STS , that showcases innovations ...Read more

Contributors to the Exhibit "Innovating STS in Turkey"

View essay

Aybike Alkan

Aybike Alkan is a PhD candidate and research and teaching assistant in the Department of Sociology at Koç University, Turkey. She received her BS degree in Chemical Engineering from METU and MS degree in Industrial Engineering from Koç University. Being studied Turkey’s electricity generation system and energy infrastructures during my master’s studies, now she is interested in how engineers use, transform, and challenge technoscientific knowledge as well as the ways they make use of this knowledge, especially in the process of planning and implementing large-scale infrastructure projects. Accordingly, her research interests include politics of expertise, politics of development, and technology transfer across national and international borders. In her thesis, she studies a large-scale development project of Turkey through river basin planning, aiming at the construction of water infrastructures such as hydropower plants, irrigation tunnels, and pipes in a politically contentious region. She was a visiting student at York University, Canada in Spring 2017 and she holds Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Macmillan Center, Yale University in the 2019-2020 academic year. She is also one of the founding members of IstanbuLab, an independent research platform on Science, Technology, and Society in Turkey.


Hacer Ansal

After graduating from the Civil Engineering Department of Bosphorus University, Prof. Dr. Hacer Ansal received her master’s degree in Soil Mechanics of Civil Engineering from Northwestern University and worked as a civil engineer for five years in the USA. She received her PhD in “Science, Technology and Industrialization” Program at “Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU)” of Sussex University. After working at Technology Programme in UNCTAD, Geneva, she joined the Management Faculty of Istanbul Technical University. (ITU). Alongside taking a number of administrative roles at ITU, the head of the Economics Department and deputy manager of the Social Sciences Institute, she opened the “Science, Technology, and Society” masters program. In 2005, she transferred to Işık University to establish the Humanities and Social Sciences Department. At Işık, she opened the division of “Science, Technology, and Society”, for the first time in Turkey, functioning under an undergraduate program. Until she resigned as a signatory of the Academics for Peace petition, she worked at different academic positions at Işık, where she also opened the “Technology and Innovation Management” masters program. She has international and national publications over the subjects including Management of Technology and Innovation, Flexible Production Organization Systems, Fordist and Post Fordist Production, Effects of New Technologies on Women’s Employment, New Technology Impact on Economies of Scale, and Socio- Economic Implications of Industry 4.0.

Fatih Artvinli

Fatih Artvinli is an Associate Professor of History of Medicine and Ethics at Acibadem University in Istanbul, Turkey. He graduated from Yusufeli Health Vocational High School (Department of Public Health) and received a B.A in Political Science and International Relations from Marmara University (2001), M.A in Political Science (2004) and Ph.D. in Modern Turkish History (2011) from Yıldız Techical University. He received a Fogarty Fellowship from National Institute of Health and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School and the Boston Children’s Hospital (2015-2016). 

From 2001 to 2012, Fatih Artvinli worked as a nurse and health officer at several medical institutions including Gebze-Tavşanlı Health Center, Beykoz Public Hospital, Zeynep Kamil Women and Children Hospital. During his Ph.D studies, he worked at Bakırköy Hospital for Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery. His research interests lie at the intersection of the history of psychiatry, bioethics and politics. Besides a number of journal articles appeared in History of Psychiatry and History of Neurosciences, he is the author of two books in Turkish: Osman Bölükbaşı: A Life Spent for a Mirage (Kitap Yayınevi, 2007), Madness, Politics and Society: Toptaşı Mental Asylum (1873-1927) (Boğaziçi University Press, 2013).

Can Candan

Can Candan is an independent filmmaker and a faculty member at Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. He has a BA from Hampshire College/USA in film and video, and an MFA (a terminal degree, comparable to a PhD in other disciplines) from Temple University/USA in film and media arts. As a filmmaker since 1989, his works have been screened internationally at festivals, conferences, schools, universities, in galleries, cinemas, and on television. He has taught film courses and workshops, both in universities and media education centers in the United States and in Turkey. He is a founding member of docIstanbul Center for Documentary Studies ( which organized the 2010 Visible Evidence International Documentary Studies Conference at Bogazici University in Istanbul.

During the academic year he teaches a documentary history & theory course, a course on documentary cinema in Turkey and mentors film-related projects and theses. His latest film is "My Child" a feature documentary on parents of LGBTs in Turkey, which premiered in February 2013 at !f International Independent Film Festival in Istanbul, and has been exhibited and distributed widely, including theatrical, dvd, and online releases. In 2016, he published (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK) an edited book entitled "Kurdish Documentary Cinema in Turkey" with Suncem Koçer (Kadir Has University, Istanbul)  and has been collaborating with her on a new edited book entitled "Documentary Cultures in Turkey," as well as working on a new book in Turkish, about the history of documentary cinema in Turkey. He is also developing and fundraising for his new feature documentary film entitled "Nuclear alla Turca” on the nuclear history/stories of Turkey.

In 2005, he resigned as the chair of the film and television department of Istanbul Bilgi University after the university administration refused to take action on a sexual harassment case and he was subsequently fired. In 2012, he helped establish Boğaziçi University's Sexual Harassment Prevention Commission. In 2014, he resigned as the head of the jury of the national documentary film competition at the Antalya International Film Festival, Turkey, calling attention to the censorship scandal regarding a documentary about the Gezi Park Uprising. In January 2016, he was one of the 2212 signatories of the Academics for Peace declaration calling on the Turkish Government to end the violence against the Kurdish population and resolve the conflict through peaceful means. Along with other signatories, he is accused of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization" and is being tried in a heavy penal court in Istanbul under the anti-terror law facing a minimum jail sentence of 15 months... He continues to actively advocate for peace, conflict-resolution, human rights, and environmental protection.

Dikmen Bezmez Edge

Dikmen Bezmez Edge is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Koç University. Her research focuses on the sociology of health and illness and disability studies. More specifically, her recent research interest has been on the social experience of physical rehabilitation. Her recent publications include an article published in 2016 in Disability & Society on discourses surrounding the concept of “walking” in in-patient rehabilitation in Turkey, in Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research on the use of medical technology in rehabilitation, and in Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture, on representations of disability on Turkish Television Health Shows.

Mehmet Ekinci

Mehmet Ekinci is a Ph.D. Candidate and Course Instructor at the Science and Technology Studies Department, Cornell University. His research interests revolve around questions regarding the social, cultural and ethical aspects of modes of economic action in life sciences research and biotechnology. In addition to his academic work, Ekinci writes, edits and translates for various magazines and publishing houses based in Istanbul including Bant Mag., Ayrinti Yayinlari and Kolektif Kitap. He received his Molecular Biology and Genetics (B.Sc.) degree from Bogazici University and he studies Sociology (M.A.) at the same university before joining Cornell University in 2012.

Maral Erol

Maral Erol is an Associate Professor in the Isik University Humanities and Social Sciences Department. She has a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a BA and MA in Political Science and International Relations. After receiving her PhD, she completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University. Her research interests are men & masculinities and gender, science & technology relations with a focus on biomedical technologies and medicalization. She has published on topics such as the medicalization of menopause in Turkey, perceptions of osteoporosis and risk in menopause, discourses of normal and abnormal menstruation, andropause and male aging, and functional foods and medicalization.

Öznur Karakaş

Öznur Karakaş has recently finalized her PhD studies in Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). She is a member of CARENET and STS-Barcelona research groups. She has two master’s degrees in philosophy in Istanbul Galatasaray University; and University of Toulouse Jean Jaures and Univerzita Karlova v Praze  as part of the “Europhilosophie Master Erasmus Mundus Program in French and German Philosophy”. She is especially interested in the philosophical lineage of Actor-Network Theory, care politics, and feminist epistemologies in feminist techno-science studies as well as the potential use of these theories in social movement studies. She wrote her PhD thesis on embodiment and affect politics in 2013 Gezi Movement by making use of the Deleuze-Guattarian concept of agencement.

Duygu Kaşdoğan

Duygu Kaşdoğan is an anthropologist, active in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Her research and teaching focus on transdisciplinary sustainability studies, urban infrastructures, political ecology, and bioeconomies. She received her BA degree from the Political Science and International Relations Department at Boğaziçi University (2008), and MA degree from the Comparative Studies in History and Society Program at Koç University (2011). She was a visiting researcher in the Anthropology Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013-2014, and a research fellow in the Sociology Department at Koç University under the TÜBİTAK Co-Funded Brain Circulation Scheme fellowship programme in 2016-2017. She completed her doctoral degree in Science and Technology Studies Program at York University, Canada (2017). Her dissertation investigated the potentiation of algae as sustainable resource for bioenergy economies through a multi-sited ethnographic research conducted in the United States and Turkey.

Currently, Dr. Kaşdoğan is employed as a Dr. Research Associate in the Division of Urbanization and Environmental Problems at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at İzmir Katip Çelebi University. She teaches courses on urbanization processes, environmental problems, and the politics of science and technology, while building a long-term transdisciplinary research program on sustainability. As a member of IstanbuLab (Science, Technology, and Society Research Platform in Turkey) and the Society for Social Studies of Science, she actively collaborates with STS scholars in a number of research projects related to social and cultural studies of science in Turkey, and transnational STS. She is also the co-curator of STS Muhabbetleri public event series hosted by Akbank Sanat since 2018.

Z. Umut Turem

Z. Umut Türem received his PhD degree from the Institute for Law and Society, New York University. He is currently an associate professor at the Ataturk Institute for Modern Turkish History at Boğaziçi University. His research focuses on the political economy of law and regulation as well as broader questions of law and society. More specifically, he examines the production and global circulation of legal and economic technologies in the neoliberal era, such as competition laws, independent expert agencies and the legal notion of property. He recently edited (with three other colleagues) a volume entitled “The Making of Neoliberal Turkey” (Ashgate, 2016) and guest edited (with Andrea Ballestero) a special issue of the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies entitled “Regulatory Translations: Expertise and Affect in Global Legal Fields” (2014). His recent articles appeared in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Journal of International Relations and Development and South Atlantic Quarterly.


How to Innovate STS in Turkey? 

The exhibit “Innovating STS in Turkey” extends the digital collection entitled “An Archaeology of STS in Turkey” that was built for the 4S 2018 meeting in Sydney. It searches for multiple ways to innovate STS in Turkey through highlighting old and new practices that have taken place in and out of the academic world on the basis of personal narratives and interpretations. These practices, for example, include...

                                                                      Read More


Why Do We Need to Innovate STS in Turkey? 

In a country where STS lacks institutional grounding, “innovating STS” becomes a need more than a motivation/desire to do STS in different ways. This exhibition invites STS scholars across borders to re-think about the legitimacy of STS in different parts of the world: What makes STS legitimate as a field of study/discipline? In which contexts, how, and by whom does STS get acknowledged and/or embraced? What are the roles of “institutions” in rendering STS as a legitimate field of study? These questions have been constantly popping up while we have been trying to find ways to do STS in Turkey in a collective manner (as part of IstanbuLab) since the beginning of 2017. 

                                                                        Read more

ITU STS Program

This is an essay written by Prof. Hacer Ansal in Turkish. Prof. Ansal established the first STS MA program at a Turkish university (Istanbul Technical University) back in 2000. In the digital collection "...Read more


Dealing with Difference: The Multiple Façades of Translation

‘There is no such thing as technological innovation in this country,’ I recall having been evoked in a discussion on innovations made in Turkey. Such claims rest on the assumption that countries like Turkey transfer technologies that have already been developed in other parts of the world, and technology transfer is more or less a linear process. What does this statement conceal? How can we unveil what is hidden behind this statement, and advance our conceptions on innovative moments included in the process during which an innovation is adopted and launched in a different country? I trace the answers of these questions in a conversation with Dr. Öznur Karakaş by focusing on the concept of translation and extending its meaning, from textual to technological translation, to various kinds of practices we conduct in our daily lives. 

                                                                     Read More



Haldun Özaktaş is an academic in the field of electrical engineering who started to teach the course “Science, Technology, Society” at Bilkent University, in 1995. This course is the first introductory STS course given in a university in Turkey, and it is still on the engineering curricula as a compulsory course in Bilkent. I first encountered the name of Haldun Özaktaş in an article entitled “Teaching Science, Technology, and Society to Engineering Students: A Sixteen Year Journey”... After reading the article, I had the chance to talk with Özaktaş on how that 16-year journey started and how it is experienced by both himself and his students.                                                                                                              Read More


STS in a Local Arts and Culture Magazine: Bant Mag.

Since February 2017, an arts and culture magazine Bant Mag. -located in Kadıköy, İstanbul- has been publishing a series of STS-themed writings. This series has become possible through the initiative and writings of Mehmet Ekinci, Ph.D. candidate in the Cornell STS Department and member of IstanbuLab. These writings appear in different formats, including translations, essays, and interviews...

Read more

“Sayborglar hâlâ hayatta ve keyifleri yerinde”: Joe Dumit

Interview with Joseph Dumit, conducted by Mehmet Ekinci and published in Bant Mag in Turkish. An example to Innovating STS in Turkey through creating STS-related content for a local arts and culture magazine.
Read more

Yaşamı neden hep “üreyebilme” üzerinden tanımlayalım ki?: Svalbard Küresel Tohum Deposu

Interview with Sophia Roosth, conducted by Mehmet Ekinci and published in Bant Mag

...Read more

ISTanbulab BLog: A Platform For Innovating STS Teaching in Turkey?

In 2018, Duygu Kaşdoğan initiated an interview series on feminist technoscience to be published in IstanbuLab Blog with the aim to contribute IstanbuLab’s research in this field as well as introducing feminist technoscience scholars’ work to the followers of the blog. She opened this interview series with a conversation with Prof. Michelle Murphy over her book The Economization of Life. In time, on the basis of informal conversations with a couple of social scientists located in Turkish universities, we found out that these interviews have been included in a number of course syllabi as teaching materials. This led us to rethink the purpose of IstanbuLab’s blog, and treat it as a platform of STS innovation through the lens of pedagogy...

Read more


If we think that one of the habitual modes of doing STS is publishing articles in academic journals, the creation of STS-related content for arts and culture magazines that reach to general audience would be one way to interrupt this habit. Such a practice would be positively embraced by STS scholars in different ways depending on their desires and intentions. We find this practice of publishing for a general audience as a significant way to do STS in Turkey, following our provocation for this collection: STS can take its shape in Turkey in/through public spaces more than in academic institutions...

Read more

"...we’d better try to come up with new ways of inviting people to think and act differently by showing them interesting and engaged scholarship, art, knowledge making and technology developing practices so that they can relate to such practices, revisit some of their assumptions and habits, and show the will to live in a world that does not put science and technology on a set of pedestals but treat them as things not always ready-to-use but to engage with, modify and share from hand to hand" (Mehmet Ekinci)

We Do Not Need Another Deficit Model, This Time For STS

An essay by Mehmet Ekinci, which is prepared for this collection. In this essay, he talks about his journey of innovating STS in Turkey through publishing in a local arts and culture magazine Bant Mag.Read more


Greetings to Benjamin’s storytellers! 

One of the exciting materials included in this collection is about stories around Sıtkı Bey, a not well-known figure in the history of science, whose story becomes visible during the preparation of a documentary about Turkey’s nuclear stories (Nuclear Alla Turca), and to an STS scholar (Maral Erol) during an occasional conversation with the documentary maker (Can Candan). Stories tell stories tell stories... (Greetings to Haraway!). And, STS gets regenerated…

Read more

Story of the Stories for Nuclear Alla Turca

An essay written by Maral Erol, which reflects on the video interview she and Aybike Alkan conducted with Can Candan as part of the "Innovating STS in Turkey...Read more

"Ever since ‘the clouds of Chernobyl’ passed above us in 1986, political leaders have tried to deceive the public on the risks of radiation by proclaiming that radiation did not have any negative health effects. The amalgamation of the ‘alla turca-ness’ and the absurdity of their statements–such as ‘a little bit of radiation is good for you’, ‘radioactive tea tastes better’, ‘radiation is good for the bones’, ‘the household propane tank in your kitchen is as risky as nuclear,’—along with stories about the nuclear history of Turkey since the 1930s, have given birth to this tragicomical documentary. In Nuclear alla Turca, we will hear these little-known stories from those who have had first-hand experiences, and as well as witnesses, experts, activists, and politicians among others."


“This is STS!” This exclamation often pops up in our face-to-face and/or virtual informal conversations and always continues with this question: “Isn’t it STS?” The thing that gets such a conversation going can be a newspaper article, a scholarly work, or just a twitter thread that is not necessarily framed in any relation to STS. These conversations take place among us as people situating themselves as STS scholars and/or the ones interested in STS, who are in connection via IstanbuLab... Recently, one such conversation took place after sharing and listening to a podcast that refers to the journal Şizofrengi… 

Read more

"...Şizofrengi consisted of important discussions and clues about the social, political, and cultural axis in Turkey, beginning with the madness and the field of psychiatry. That’s why I think that Şizofrengi would be a significant discovery for STS researches as it is for the history of psychiatry and literature. Some 'institutes and 'industries' that are criticised by the writers were: medicine, media, psychiatry, pharmaceutical industry, literature industry, football industry, and the music industry..." (Fatih Artvinli)

Dâhi, Asi ve Bütünüyle Kuşkuda Bir Dergi: Şizofrengi

An essay by Fatih Artvinli, which is prepared for this collection. In this essay, Artvinli tells a story of the journal Şizofrengi (1992-1998), which stands as a significant discovery for innovating STS in Turkey. This essay is written in Turkish and translated into English. The English...Read more

A Genius, Rebellious and Totally Suspicious Journal: Sizofrengi

In this essay, historian of psychiatry Fatih Artvinli tells a story of the journal Şizofrengi (1992-1998), which stands as a significant discovery for innovating STS in Turkey. 

This essay is written in Turkish and translated into English. The Turkish version is...Read more


STS Talks - Interview with Z. Umut Turem

An interview with Law and Society scholar Z. Umut Türem from Bogazici University, conducted by STS scholar Duygu Kaşdoğan on August 12, 2019. In this interview Türem reflects on his experiences in moderating a talk given by...Read more

"...The novelty was in the broader frame the talk was part of however: A straight academic talk by a well-established scholar, organized by 'a group of volunteers', animated by an insistent focus on 'justice', taking place in an 'art venue' and 'open to the public'. This to me seemed like an odd mix, but odd as it might be, it was a highly successful blend of social science, political intervention, and art." (Umut Türem)

"...the engagement with an audience beyond the university has been greatly nourishing and refreshing. The audience’s deep interest, knowledge, and energy to share and to enter into a dialogue has been extremely rewarding. As university scholars sometimes we enclose ourselves inside campus walls... Meeting such an engaged audience beyond the university helped me demolish some of these walls and feel inspired." (Dikmen Bezmez Edge)

STS Talks - Interview with Dikmen Bezmez Edge

An interview with Dikmen Bezmez Edge, which reflects on her experiences in engaging with STS on the basis of the IstanbuLab's STS Talks event series.Read more