Oguz Alyanak

Graduate Student of Sociocultural Anthropology

Research Interests

My research interests include morality, masculinity and urban space. In my ongoing research (2016), I collect spatial stories from members of the Turkish community about everyday life in Strasbourg, as well as the larger Franco-German borderland, which includes the neighboring German town of Kehl. Preliminary research shows that these stories speak of an anxiety over how and where men, in particular, spend their free time. Excursions to nightclubs, brothels and casinos in Germany put many Muslim Turkish men under the spotlight as usual suspects for moral transgression. The fear of transgression, however, cannot be contained in Germany alone for it bleeds into mundane contexts of ethical thinking and envelops ordinary places and practices, thus making everyday life subject to moral policing and inquiry. Hence, for many Muslim Turks, how and where one spends his time becomes a political question—one that lends itself to a self-reflexive dialogue over being a good Muslim, which usually involves reflection on achievements and repentance of failures in reaching this goal. Using semi-structured interviews, cartographic surveys and participant observation with male and female members of the Turkish community in Strasbourg, I describe what it means for Muslim Turkish men to become subjects of moral inquiry, and explore how it shapes their exploration of the urban landscape.

Fellowships and Awards

The Wenner-Gren Foundation, Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, 2016
McDonnell Scholar Initiative Fund, 2015
Social Science Research Council, Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (DPDF), 2014
Washington University Transatlantic Forum Travel Grant, 2014
American Anthropological Association Central States Anthropological Society (CSAS), Best Graduate Student Paper Award, 2013
Washington University Summer Research Travel Grant, 2013
McDonnell International Scholars Academy Fellowship, 2012-2018

Research Experience

Dissertation fieldwork in Strasbourg on “Fear of the Ordinary: Muslim Turks Negotiate Men's Moral Worth in the Franco-German Borderland”, 2016
Summer fieldwork in Kayseri on “Living in Sister Cities: Exploring the Strasbourg-Kayseri Connection”, 2014
Research Assistant for Profs. Kedron Thomas (Anthropology) and Robin VerHage-Abram’s (Fashion Design) project on “Sustainable Fashion: An Exploration of Knowledge Systems and Design Practice”, 2014
Summer fieldwork in Strasbourg on Turkish Institutions in France, 2013
Fieldwork in Chicago on Turkish Institutions in N. America, 2011
Fieldwork in Istanbul and Ankara on Mass Demonstrations in Turkey, 2009

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant for Prof. Glenn Stone, ANTHRO 361: Culture and Environment, Washington University, Fall 2015
Teaching Assistant for Prof. Peter Benson, ANTHRO 4114: Anthropology and Existentialism, Washington University, Spring 2015
Teaching Assistant for Prof. Carolyn Sargent, ANTHRO 3310: Health, Healing and Ethics: Introduction to Medical Anthropology, Washington University, Fall 2014
Teaching Assistant for Prof. Kedron Thomas, ANTHRO 3331: Anthropology of Clothing and Fashion, Washington University, Fall 2013

Selected Publications

Alyanak, Oguz. 2016  Do You Best and Allah Will Take Care of the Rest: Muslim Turks Negotiate Halal in Strasbourg. International Review of Social Research 6(1): 15-25. 

Alyanak, Oguz. 2016  Research Methods: Working at a Doner Shop. Anthropology News. 

Alyanak, Oguz. 2016. Ustek, Funda and Oguz Alyanak. The Case of Children Born out of Wedlock in Turkey: An ‘Empty’ Category? About Gender. 5(10): 261-281.

Alyanak, Oguz, and Funda Ustek. 2015  Anaakımın İçerisinde Alternatif Görünürlük Arayışları: Huzur Sokağı Örneği [“Serenity Street” Series: A Case Study of Alternative Media]. In Direniş Çağında

Türkiye’de Alternatif Medya [Mapping the Alternative Media in Turkey] Çoban, B., Ataman, B. eds. Istanbul: Kafka Kitap.

Alyanak, Oguz. 2015  Toplumsal Analizlerde Konumsallık Tasavvuru: Saha Çalışması Üzerine Düşünümsel Bir Not” [Rethinking Positionality in Social Analysis: A Reflexive Note on Fieldwork], Modus Operandi 1(1):17-47.

Alyanak, Oguz. 2013  Book Review: Islamic Education With(in) the Secular State. Turkish Review 3(6):660-62.

Alyanak, Oguz, and Alexandra Mateescu. 2012  Book Review: The Power of the Patriarchy, the Stimulus of Shame. Turkish Review 2(6):111-16.

Alyanak, Oguz. 2012  Facing the Ghosts of ‘Statue of Humanity’. Lights: The Middle Eastern Studies Students Association at the University of Chicago (MESSA) Journal 1(2):33-46.

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Campus Box 1114
  • One Brookings Drive
  • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899