Aslı Zengin, “Violent Intimacies: The Trans Everyday and the Making of an Urban World” (Duke UP, 2024)

In Violent Intimacies: The Trans Everyday and the Making of an Urban World (Duke UP, 2024), Aslı Zengin traces how trans people in Turkey creatively negotiate and resist everyday cisheteronormative violence. Drawing on the history and ethnography of the trans communal life in Istanbul, Zengin develops an understanding of cisheteronormative violence that expands beyond sex, gender and sexuality. She shows how cisheteronormativity forms a connective tissue among neoliberal governmentality, biopolitical and necropolitical regimes, nationalist religiosity and authoritarian management of social difference. As much as trans people are shaped by these processes, they also transform them in intimate ways. Transness in Turkey provides an insightful site for developing new perspectives on statecraft, securitization and surveillance, family and kin-making, urban geography, and political life. Zengin offers the concept of violent intimacies to theorize this entangled world of the trans everyday where violence and intimacy are co-constitutive. Violent intimacies emerge from trans people’s everyday interactions with the police, religious and medical institutions, street life, family and kinship, and trans femicides and funerals. The dynamic of violent intimacies prompts new understandings of violence and intimacy and the world-making struggles of trans people in a Middle Eastern context.

Aslı Zengin is Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University.

Alize Arıcan is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The City College of New York (CUNY). Her work has been featured in Environment and Planning DCurrent Anthropology, and City & Society, among other journals and public-facing platforms. You can find her on Twitter @alizearican.

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