Hello Tasa Postgrads!
Welcome to our first blog of 2017!
We (your postgrad committee) are working on some exciting things for you this year, including putting together a postgrad day that lives up to the fabulous event put on by last year’s fantastic committee. We have listened to your feedback about what worked (and what could be revamped a little) and hope to put together something you will enjoy.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
What I really want to talk about is how we can get more involved with our most important priority—you! This year I hope to see a TASA blog full of resources for you, blogs written by you, and posts highlighting the inspiring work you are all undertaking.
So how can you get involved?
- Tell us about your fabulous work: email us about getting your thesis snapshot up on our site.
- Tweet us: let us know what you think @tasapostgrads
- Contribute to the blog: let us know if you have an idea or just want to know what you can do to contribute to the blog.
- Check our website for resources: we will be regularly updating our resources section with useful links for you. If you come across something useful feel free to send it to us.
Direct your emails to your Postgraduate Coordinator, Ashleigh Watson at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to working with you all this year!
[Editor’s note: this article was originally posted in Nexus here]
Oznur Sahin, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University:
I am very pleased and honoured to be awarded the 2016 TASA Jerzy Zubrzycki Postgraduate Conference Scholarship. Thanks to the TASA award committee for granting me this award, which provided me an opportunity to attend and present the findings of my PhD research in an academically rich and intellectually stimulating conference. I also appreciate that TASA provides a collegial and supportive environment for postgraduate students. I also thank the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University for generously supporting my accommodation in Melbourne for the conference. I am very grateful to my supervisors Deborah Stevenson and Donald McNeill for their support and encouragement, too. I would also like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the Urban Sociology thematic group, convened by Deborah Warr and Peter Walters, for organising the Relationality in the Metropolis Symposium following the conference, which created a space for an engaging and critical debate on the issue of relationality in contemporary urban environments.
At the conference, I presented a paper titled ‘Gender and civic engagement: The Bagcilar Municipality Women’s Council in Istanbul’, in which I examined women’s participation in urban life through discursive and performative practices of the secular and religious as relational analytical categories in the district of Bagcilar in Istanbul, Turkey. In my thesis, I draw on my ethnographic fieldwork between 2014 and 2015 in Istanbul to examine the governance of urban space, and the gender aspect of publicness and civic engagement in Istanbul, at the intersection of the local, national and global. Specifically, I scrutinise women’s civic engagement and use of urban spaces through the social and cultural events that they are involved in, either as participants or organisers, in the predominantly secular district of Kadikoy and religious Bagcilar.
In both Kadikoy and Bagcilar, women, and in particular housewives and retired women, play a crucial role in supporting local governments through their engagement with secularism and Islam. In Turkey, secularism, with all its political connotations and coupled with the nation–state building processes considered in relation to Western civilisation, permeates the space and everyday life practices of people. My thesis, however, does not aim to oppose secularism and religion; rather it explores how place-making and spatial subjectivities are constituted through the contestation and interaction of the performative practices of these grounded theologies of the secular and the religious.
These performances transform the city into a stage, not in a representational sense but literally, as staging events turns into a form of governance that controls, regulates, mediates and legitimises urban space, publicness and women’s spatial subjectivities. I thereby examine the local, national and global implications of staging events in the city as a form of urban governance; how the secular and religious, as part of Turkish national identity with all their political impacts on everyday life, shape events, urban space and women’s spatial subjectivities; the role of gender in the production of publicness in the city; and how women respond to the politics of gender and space of local authorities.
[Editor’s note: This article was first published in Nexus here]
Cassie Curryer, University of Newcastle:
When I was 17, my father told me I would never go to university because we were too poor. It was to be many years before I took the chance to enrol as a mature age student and complete my Bachelor of Social Science (the first in my family to attend university). So, I am very thankful and excited to have received a 2016 TASA Postgraduate Scholarship, and for the opportunity to attend TASA and present my higher degree research. It has been a long journey to TASA 2016 in Melbourne, but very worth it.
A highlight of the conference was Postgraduate Day 2016. This was very entertaining and thought-provoking. Luke Gahan and Brady Robards planted the idea of finding your ‘tribe’, and the TASA conference provided the perfect avenue for this. As an off-campus postgraduate student, meeting other people in my research tribes (postgraduate, and the ageing, urban sociology, and risk thematic groups) and building strong networks of support and collaboration is especially important. Postgraduate Day also provided an excellent introduction to academic culture and practice. James Arvanitakis gave some brilliant examples of using anecdotes (such as family life and Greek BBQs) to enhance student learning, engagement and theoretical development. Peta Cook and Sara James provided very practical and creative tutorial examples and we were treated to interesting insights into academic and research culture, how to manage student/supervisor relationships, and the importance of carving out an adequate work/life balance.
Postgraduate students also benefited from personal mentoring by senior sociologists. While at TASA 2016 I was very lucky to meet Alphia Possamai-Inesedy (who provided some excellent pointers for my thesis research) and Professor Yoland Wadsworth, one of Australia’s pioneers in participatory social action and evaluation research. Yoland highlighted the importance of postgraduates creating and having our own repertoire by identifying what it is we are passionate about and how we can best position ourselves within various policy discourses and academic and research culture. Or in other words, finding our tribe! This brings me to the conference dinner, where people from all tribes came together to feast and dance. Some very interesting dance moves were shown on the dance floor (and mine were probably the worst). It was a great evening and lots of fun.
I also really enjoyed the Women’s Breakfast with Professor Sujatha Fernandes who gave a very stimulating talk about her experiences in academia and beyond, while Bryan Turner’s keynote address tackled the meaning of happiness. In reflecting on Sujatha’s and Bryan’s talks, I think that happiness is what happens when people feel connected and valued by their tribes and are supported to contribute meaningfully to whatever it is they passionate about. Receiving a TASA scholarship, for me, reaffirms my place within the TASA tribe. Congratulations to my fellow scholarship recipients, to all the presenters whose presentations I enjoyed, and to the conference committee for a fabulous TASA 2016.