Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2019
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Illinois / Urbana-Champaign
World-Making: Family, Time and Memory among Trans Mothers and Daughters

In Turkey where state policies and legal institutions privilege the ideal citizen as Turkish, cis-gender male, heterosexual, and Muslim, trans women occupy deeply marginalized social positions. Different forms of discrimination begin once their gender identity becomes visible to their families in the earlier periods of their lives. In the larger society, they are denied education and housing, fired from jobs, face with transphobic violence and they are often left with sex work as one of the only options to sustain themselves. Within this context, trans women form communities through non-normative mother-daughter relationships and share memories of struggle and survival across time and space to contend with social and legal forms of marginalization and criminalization. My research is an ethnographic exploration of how trans mothers-daughters creatively compose spaces to challenge normative understandings of kinship and time within social and material forms of marginalization. I particularly focus on material and affective circulations of memory across time and space among trans mothers and daughters within and across different urban settings of Turkey. I explore how trans women respond to multi-layered forms of abandonment and systemic violence while going through their gender transition processes. By tracing daily interactions and narratives of trans mothers-daughters, I analyze how trans women form creative politics of memory and challenge normative conceptualization of "inter-generational" transmission of memory that takes the heteronormative interrelatedness between kinship and time for granted. On a larger scale, I also examine how by practicing new ways of memory circulation in and across different urban settings of Turkey, trans mothers-daughters open spaces to challenge the politics of memory in Turkey where the linkage between history, memory, and narrative is controlled and policed by the state.