UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Book Launch: “Working Out Desire: Women, Sport, and Self-Making in Istanbul” By Sertaç Sehlikoglu

25 November 2020, 5:00 pm–6:30 pm

book launch

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Institute for Global Prosperity

You are cordially invited to Sertaç Sehlikoglu’s book launch. In her book “Working out Desire”, Sehlikoglu traces Istanbulite women’s enthusiasm for exercise, or as they call it spor merakı (interest/curiosity of sport), which was followed by one and half million women during the years she conducted her field research. She explores this seemingly mundane activity as an interest in establishing a new self—one that attempts to escape from conventional feminine duties—and an investment in forming a more agentive and desiring self. Working Out Desire develops a multilayered analysis of how women use spor merakı to take themselves out of the domestic zone physically, emotionally, and also imaginatively and connects them to a global movement. Working out Desire presents the ways in which women’s changing habits, leisure, and self-formation in the Muslim world and the Middle East are connected to their agentive capacities to shift and transform their conditions and socio-cultural capabilities.

To discuss the book, IGP Director Professor Henrietta L. Moore and anthropologist Professor Niko Besnier from University of Amsterdam will join us. Prof Besnier is known for his work on globalization, gender, sexuality, sports, and is the author of several books including “On the Edge of the Global” and “the Anthropology of Sport”

Dr Sertaç Sehlikoglu is Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Global Prosperity and leads the ERC-funded project “Takhayyul”, a collaborative study that will ethnographically excavate the imaginative forces in the formation of populist Islamist aspirations in the Balkans, the Middle East, and South Asia. 

Working Out Desire book cover