Crisis, Gender, and Urban Space: Lecture and master class with Dr. Selda Tuncer


The Covid-19 crisis led to a new “normal,” shaking the socio-spatial organization based on the private-public binary of daily life to its foundations. With the pandemic, extreme restrictions put on social interactions and spatial practices, including the obligation to wear masks and other social distancing rules, have created new norms for the use of public spaces, deeply affecting people’s relationship with these spaces and the meanings they attribute to them. In Turkey, the boundaries between the private and the public are regulated based on highly gendered practices. This has meant that the transformation of public space during the pandemic has had significant impacts in terms of gender.

Organized by the Open Cities Platform, this talk explores how the everyday experience of public space has changed during the pandemic for men and women. In light of data obtained from social media and newspapers, it examines how the restriction of public spaces and activities within the scope of lockdown measures generated different gendered practices and consequences, with a special attention on women’s everyday experiences of gendered violence and safety issues across the public-private division.

This event encompasses a keynote lecture by Dr Selda Tuncer, Associate Professor in Sociology at at Van 100. Yıl University, Turkey, followed by a masterclass aimed at graduate students working on topics related to crisis, gender, and urban space. Dr Tuncer has long-standing research experience on topics related to feminist geography, gender, public space, and everyday life. Graduate students will be assigned readings in advance and will get the chance to directly engage with Dr Selda Tuncer following her keynote lecture. The masterclass will be open to all interested in graduate students and last approximately 1.5 hours. The event will be moderated by Dr Marlene Schäfers.

Dr Selda Tuncer is an associate professor of Sociology at Van 100. Yıl University in Turkey and author of Women and Public Space in Turkey: Gender, Modernity and the Urban Experience (I.B. Tauris, 2018). Her ongoing research investigates the gendered transformation of public space and its effects on women’s relationship with both public and private spaces in today’s neoliberal and conservative authoritarian regimes. She will be a visiting researcher at Utrecht University from June to August 2024.

Dr Marlene Schäfers is assistant professor in Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University and author of Voices that Matter: Kurdish Women at the Limits of Representation in Contemporary Turkey (University of Chicago Press, 2022). She works on gender, voice, memory, and the politics of (im)mortality. She is currently leading an NWO-funded research project on migration across the Turkey-Iran border.