In this episode, I am hosting Sercan Çınar. We will talk about the construction of socialist masculinities in the 1970s at the height of socialist-Marxist political mobilization in Turkey. Sercan asks a very powerful question: how could socialist-Marxist men justify and reproduce gender inequalities and power relations as natural while, at the same time, remaining extremely critical of the naturalization of, for example, property relations? 

Sercan will argue that the practices of social mobilization during 70s, especially in response to political violence that marked the decade played an important role in constructing socialist masculinities. Sercan conducted oral history interviews and archival research concerning the decade and, with the help of his findings, he will provide examples of how responses to political violence on the street were utilized to justify and reproduce the dichotomy of man/woman and masculinity/femininity.

Sercan will also elaborate on two important factors in the construction of socialist masculinities as a distinct category from hegemonic masculinities.

He will first reveal the effects of feminist women sharing political space with socialist men in regards to socialist masculinities.

Secondly, he will detail the effects of Global Cold War Politics on the construction of socialist masculinities in Turkey. One of the most striking examples Sercan provides is the border crossing essentialized images and discourses of “Soviet immoral sexualities” which aimed to create moral panic in localities and hoped to fuel anti-communist sentiments. Finally, Sercan will talk about how the socialist-Marxist scene in Turkey simply played into these discourses by pursuing a conservative politics of sexuality.

Sercan Çınar is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Gender Studies at CEU. He received his BSc in Political Science from Middle East Technical University. He holds an MA in European Women’s and Gender History from CEU. His MA thesis is on socialist masculinities in Turkey in the 1970s, and he is currently working on his Ph.D. dissertation about Turkish migrant left-feminism in Western Europe during the late Cold War. His research interests include gender and women’s history, the history of masculinities in Turkey and the transnational history of communism and anarchism.

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