Photo of Arıcan, Alize

Alize Arıcan

Graduate Student



Building & Room:

BSB 2170


1007 W. Harrison Street


I am a cultural anthropologist interested in urban transformation, everyday practices and solidarities in changing neighborhoods, temporalities and spatialities of resilience and movement. I have done fieldwork in the Tarlabasi neighborhood of Istanbul in the process of urban transformation, with communities anticipating, negotiating and rearticulating the meanings and outcomes of this process. I am guided by engaged, feminist and activist methodologies as I conduct my work and write about it. My research has been supported by numerous UIC supported awards. Furthermore, my work has been supported by a Humanities Without Walls project entitled "Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene," where I have led a research team in Istanbul. Currently, I am working with the artist Tamara Becerra Valdez in representing portions of this work visually through her art practice. This collaboration will culminate in an exhibition piece in Gallery 400 in January 2019 for the Humanities Without Walls project.


Selected Grants

University of Illinois at Chicago, Gender and Women's Studies Completion Award 2018-2019, Principal Investigator

University of Illinois at Chicago Institute on Race & Public Policy, Dissertation Grant (2018), Principal Investigator

University of Illinois at Chicago, 16th Annual Alice J. Dan Dissertation Award for Research on Women and Gender (2017), Principal Investigator

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Humanities without Walls Grant (2016-2018), Graduate Collaborator and Project Coordinator for "Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene"

University of Illinois at Chicago, Chancellor's Graduate Research Award (2016), Principal Investigator

University of Illinois at Chicago, Provost's Award for Graduate Research (2016), Principal Investigator

University of Illinois at Chicago, University Fellowship (2014-2015), Principal Investigator

Service to Community

  • 2017-present     Tarlabaşı Solidarity Group. Volunteer, Organizer. - Provided engaged assistance to women, children, and migrants living in the neighborhood
  • 2017-present  Tarlabaşı Toplum Merkezi (Tarlabaşı Community Center) Volunteer. - Tutored young women living in Tarlabaşı, designed empowering projects for young girls in the neighborhood
  • 2016-present.  Chicago Committee for Solidarity with Kurdistan and Rojava, Founding Member and Organizer. -  Organized demonstrations and events to engender awareness and solidarity for the Kurdish movement
  • 2012-2014     Istanbul Feminist Collective. Organizer. - Planned and carried out rallies and wrote publications to bring attention to women’s issues in Istanbul
  • 2012-2014     Boğaziçi Collective. Organizer. - Advocated for healthy and affordable food on campus

Notable Honors

2017-2018, Visiting Fellow, Istanbul Studies Center, Istanbul Kadir Has University

2019, Graduate Student AAA Paper Prize, for "Cultivating Potentialities: Inhabiting Urban Transformation in Tarlabaşı’s Contact Zones", Middle East Studies Association (MESA)

Selected Presentations

Invited Presentations

2018   “‘Analyzing’ and ‘Trying to Understand Who These People Are’: For What and For Whom?” Paper presentation at Southern Perspectives on Migration (September 5-7), Johannesburg, South Africa

2018   “Limits and Possibilities of Urban Ethnography” Invited lecture for Urban Political Ecology Summer School 2018 organized by the Center for Spatial Justice (June 18-July 1), Istanbul, Turkey

Conference Presentations

2018   “Urban Transformation and Securitization in Tarlabaşı: Competing Cosmopolitanisms or Bodies without Organs?” Paper presentation at American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting (March 29-April 1), Los Angeles, CA

2017    “Looking for Anthropocene Politics in Urban Corners: Matters of Care in Tarlabaşı” Paper presentation at The American Anthropological Association 2018 Annual Meeting (November 28-December 3), Washington D.C.

2017   “Absorbing the Tragedy, Matters of Care” Paper presentation at Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene (November 3-4), Chicago, IL

2016   “Thinking Beyond the Duality of Theory and Practice: Lessons from Gezi Park” Paper presentation at International Conference: From Contested Cities to Urban Dialogues (July 4), Madrid, Spain


2017   Selected participant in the Master Class with Prof. Bruno Latour Cutting Edge Workshops in the Humanities, University of Illinois at Chicago (October 30-November 4), Chicago, IL

2017   Selected participant in the Master Class with Prof. Michael Taussig Institute of Critical Social Inquiry Summer Seminar, The New School for Social Research (June 11-17), New York City, NY