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Photo of Gül, Zeynel

Zeynel Gül, PhD

Bridge to Faculty Postdoctoral Scholar

Anthropology, Sociocultural

Pronouns: He/Him


Building & Room:

BSB 3148C


CV Download:

GUL CV 2023


Zeynel Gül is a Bridge to Faculty postdoctoral scholar at the Department of Anthropology at UIC. Gül has completed his doctoral studies in cultural anthropology at Johns Hopkins University where he has specialized in medical anthropology, anthropology of law, and science and technology studies.  Gül’s book manuscript, tentatively titled Silicosis Trails: Law, Medicine, and the Corrosion of the Laboring Body in Turkey, chronicles the stories of patients with silicosis – a chronic lung disease caused by inhalation of dust particles at the workplace. Silicosis Trails ethnographically explores how a state-led expansion of access to medical care for workers in Turkey shapes health litigation in courts, revealing the intertwining of law and healthcare governance in producing uncertainties in the medical field regarding diagnosis and predictions of the severity and course of the disease. Gül’s research recasts anthropological understandings of disease ontology and patient experience by investigating the embeddedness of law and governance in the production of medical knowledge.


In 2020, Gül joined a multi-country research team to study the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial and health-related challenges for working-class households.  At Johns Hopkins, Gül taught courses on environmental toxicity and medical anthropology. Before joining UIC, Gül also completed the certificate program at the Environmental and Occupational Health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Selected Grants

2021 - Social Sciences Research Council COVID-19 Rapid Research Grant, Occupational Diseases in the Context of Pandemic: Managing Risk and Care among the Working-Class Households, Co-PI

2021 - Reproductive Health Working Group Covid-19 Research Grant, Occupational Diseases in the Context of Pandemic: Managing Risk and Care Among the Working-Class Households in Turkey, Co-PI

2020 - Wenner Gren Foundation Dissertation Research Grant, Evidence from chronicity: Law, expert knowledge, and the laboring body in Turkey, .

2019 - Johns Hopkins University Islamic Studies Summer Research Fellowship, Law, Governance and Religion in the Context of Workplace Accidents in Turkey, .

Selected Publications

2022. “Vulnerable Bodies, Enduring lives: Occupational Lung Diseases in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic”. SSRC Items. [with Başak Can and Arda Yalçın]


2022. “Emek ve Ekoloji Bağlarını Yeniden Düşünmek: Yavaş Siddet, Çevresel ve Mesleki Hastalıklar” [Rethinking the Relation Between Labor and Ecology: Slow Violence, Occupational and Environmental Diseases]. Polen Ekoloji 7: 36-49.


2023 PhD in Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University (Project Title: “Silicosis Trails: Law, Medicine, and the Corrosion of the Laboring Body in Turkey”)
2015 MA in Sociology, Boğaziçi University (Thesis Title: “Shifting Geographies of Subversive Politics in Istanbul”)

Professional Memberships

American Anthropological Association

Society for Medical Anthropology

Middle East Section (American Anthropological Association)

Research Currently in Progress

For my current project, I examine humanitarian responses to Syrian migrants with occupational injuries in the context of Turkey’s ‘Temporary Protection Regulation’ that restricts access to work and health for 3.7 million Syrians. By following religious relief workers who help migrants navigate the challenges of precarious labor ranging from unemployment to occupational injuries, I am interested in creating a genealogy of humanitarianism outside the secular, Euro-American, and Christian traditions of care.