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Univ.-Prof. Dr. Bilgin Ayata

Prof. Dr. Bilgin Ayata joined the Centre for Southeast European Studies at Graz University in October 2020. Previously she taught Political Sociology at the University of Basel. She obtained her PhD at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA) and her MA degree from York University (Toronto, Canada). Her teaching and research focusses on migration, borders, citizenship, affect and emotions, postcolonial studies. Her regional expertise includes Europe and the MENA region. She has published widely on displacement, border regimes, citizenship transnationalism, affective politics, memory and violence. ​

Currently, she is carrying out three thirdparty funded research projects. The research project “Infrastructure space and the future of Migration Management: The EU Hotspots in the Mediterranean Borderscape” is funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) and carries out  comparative,  interdisciplinary  and  multi-sited exploration  of  the infrastructure of migration management in the context of the new Hotspot Approach of the EU. The project explores the consequences of EU migration policy in Greece, Italy, Tunisia, Turkey and Libya.

The second research project “Affective Citizenship: Religion, Migration and Belonging in Europe” explores the relationship between religious incorporation and belonging with a study on Islam and Alevism in Europe. This project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The third research project “The affective dynamics of political participation” is based in Berlin, where Ayata is an associate member and international cooperation partner of the Research Cluster “1171 Affective Societies” at the Freie Universität Berlin. She is a DFG Mercator-Fellow of the SFB 1171 during the second research phase of the Cluster (2019-2023).

Prof. Dr. Bilgin Ayata has received research grants and fellowships by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), the Swiss Network of International Studies (SNIS), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the MacArthur Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, FU Berlin, Johns Hopkins University and York University. In July 2014, she received the Lorbär Award for Excellence in Teaching of the Otto-Suhr Institute, FU Berlin and received a shortlist nomination for the Teaching Excellence Award of the University in Basel in 2017.  She is a associated faculty member of EIKONES, Urban Studies and the Center for Gender Studies. She is also Co-President of the Research Association Switzerland-Turkey.

Prof. Dr. Ayata frequently collaborates with cultural organisations and public institutions to communicate her research beyond academia. In Spring 2019, she has supervised and co-organized the exhibition “Çok Basel - Transnational Memoryscapes Switzerland-Turkey” that explores the relationship of  transnational migration and urban memory with a focus on migration from Turkey to Basel, Switzerland. The exhibited work is a result and expression of a transnational dialogue comprising video and audio projects developed by the students of her seminar “Migration and Memory” that took place during the Fall Semester 2018 at the University of Basel. On the occasion of the exhibition by Martha Rosler and Hito Steyerl at the Kunstmuseum Basel during the Fall Semester, Prof. Dr. Bilgin Ayata has co-organized the public lecture series “The Art of Intervention” aimed at exploring radical impact and potentiality of art and culture in conjunction with critical thought and political mobilization. In Fall 2016, she has co-organized the public lecture series “Topographies of Displacement and Resistance” in the aftermath of the summer of migration in 2015. More recently, the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin devoted the 4th Herbstsalon in 2019 to Ayata`s concept on Deheimatization, during which she co-organized a conference.


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