Dr. Emek Ergun joined UNC Charlotte in Fall 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) and Global Studies. 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 Gender and Women’s Studies courses on 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 borders, particularly between the US and Turkey. Before coming to UNC Charlotte, Dr. Ergun worked as a 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.
In 2017, Dr. Ergun published a co-edited volume with Dr. Olga Castro called, Feminist Translation Studies: Transnational and Local Perspectives (Routledge). The volume reconfigures feminist translation as a substantial force and form of political activism locally and transnationally. By so doing, the book 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.
Dr. Ergun recently translated Octavia Butler’s classic science-fiction novel Kindred into Turkish, and it was published in Turkey in March 2019. She is currently working on her first book manuscript, expanding upon 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.