Dr. Emek Ergun joined UNC Charlotte in Fall 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) and Global, International & Area Studies (GIAS). She earned her PhD in 2015 from the Interdisciplinary Program of Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where she also taught for the Gender and Women’s Studies Department courses on introduction to women’s studies, feminist methodologies, critical masculinities, and gender and globalization. Dr. Ergun’s area of expertise is at the junction of transnational feminisms, cultural globalization, and feminist translation studies. More specifically, her research focuses on the role of translation in connecting feminist activists, discourses, and movements across geopolitical borders, particularly between the US and Turkey. Before coming to UNC Charlotte, Dr. Ergun worked as a contract lecturer at the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Keene State College in New Hampshire, where she taught courses on women of color feminisms, feminist activisms, and the politics of sex and virginity.
Dr. Ergun is currently co-editing with Dr. Olga Castro of Aston University, a collection of essays called Feminist Translation Studies: Transnational and Local Perspectives. The volume aims to reconfigure feminist translation as a substantial force and form of political activism locally and transnationally. That is, the volume seeks to expand our understanding of feminist action not only to include feminist translation as feminist activism against multiple forms of domination, but also to rethink feminist translation through feminist theories and practices developed in different geohistorical and disciplinary contexts. By so doing, the collection seeks to expand the geopolitical and historical scope of the field of feminist translation studies from different disciplinary perspectives so that it becomes more transnational, interdisciplinary, and overtly political. Feminist Translation Studies is to be published by Routledge in March 2017.
Dr. Ergun is also working on her first manuscript drawing on her doctoral dissertation. In this work, Dr. Ergun explores the ways in which the debiologizing virginity theories and knowledges of Hanne Blank’s Virgin: The Untouched History (2007), an American book on the history of western virginities, traveled from the U.S. to Turkey through her politically engaged translation (2008). Conceiving feminist translation as subjective, local, and transnational activism, Dr. Ergun’s research examines two key aspects of cross-border traveling of feminist virginity discourses: 1) the creative processes of feminist translation and the performative role of the translator’s agency in these processes, 2) the receptions of the translated text in Turkey by feminist readers and the implications of their reading practices for local and transnational feminist politics. Comparing the U.S. and Turkey, two unevenly positioned cultures with different configurations of virginity and different legacies of feminist politics, the manuscript illustrates how a western book on women’s sexuality was crossculturally mobilized to unsettle Turkey’s virginity codes and what kinds of transgressive effects it generated within Turkey’s feminist communities and the political lessons this textual travel process revealed for building transnational feminist solidarities. Dr. Ergun received the 2013 National Women Studies Association’s (NWSA) Graduate Student Award for this research, given to works that contribute to “feminist scholarship that is comparative, global, intersectional and interdisciplinary.” The dissertation was also selected as a finalist for the 2015 NWSA and the University of Illinois’ First Book Prize.