HUMAN MAKING: Identity, Dialogue and the Public

Henry David Thoreau had given us three chairs: A first for solitude, a second for friendship and a third for society. In today’s digitalized and hyper-visual world, together with many traditional concepts, these three chairs are also shaking with the magnitude of information that flows underneath. Seeing our narcissistic images reflected on the digital mirrors of the online social networks, an uneasiness about our image/identity distinction surges. Our changing dialogue affects the way we develop our relationships, and at the vast expansion of our public reach, we’re almost starting to have an attention deficit disorder in attending matters that concern all of us – other than attending them typing and sharing our perspectives and comments on the social media. This session wants to look at the three levels of human making today, starting a conversation on today’s disorders, taking into account our imaginary/real public identities, ideological and gender-related issues.  

Zeynep Arda (Visual Communication Design | İzmir University of Economics)

Nezih Erdoğan (Cinema and Television | İstanbul Şehir University)
İdil Aybars (Sociology | Middle East Technical University)
Başak Şahin Acar (Psychology | Middle East Technical University) 

Zeynep Arda is an Associate Professor in the Visual Communication Design Department of Izmir University of Economics, Izmir, Turkey. She received her Ph.D. degree in Communication Sciences at Universidad Jaume I, Castellón, Spain, with her dissertation “Image Becomes Identity 2.0”, on online social networks, how they are shaping who we are and how we communicate with one another. She also holds an M.F.A. degree in Graphic Design from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, an M.A. degree in Interaction Design from Domus Academy, Milan, Italy and a B.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. Her multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary background forms the basis of her research agenda. (

A prominent Turkish film scholar, Nezih Erdoğan has worked as senior faculty member and as an academic administrator in various communication departments in Turkey including Bilkent, Bahçeşehir, and Bilgi universities. His major contribution to the literature has been on issues such as identity, melodrama, modernization  and popular culture all with a particular emphasis on cinema in Turkey. He is the author of  many articles most of which have been highly influential in shaping the field of film studies in Turkey. He published extensively on Turkish popular cinema, the reception of American cinema in Turkey, censorship, early years of cinema and spectatorship in Istanbul. Prof.Dr. Erdoğan is currently teaching at İstanbul Şehir University.

Başak Şahin-Acar is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department of Middle East Technical University. Her research interests are autobiographical memory development; parent-child memory conversations across cultures and self-construals; gender differences  in reminiscing. She is engaged in various studies on child and adolescent development with students from graduate and undergraduate studies of Developmental Psychology programme.

Ayşe İdil Aybars is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and the Chair of the Social Policy Master’s Programme at the Middle East Technical University (METU). She has an MSc degree in European Studies (2002) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and a Ph.D. degree in Social Sciences from the University of Ulster (2007). She completed two post-doctoral studies, one at the Center for European Studies of METU between 2006 and 2009, and the other as a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy in 2009-2010. She has been publishing and teaching on social policy and welfare state in the EU and Turkey, gender equality, sociology of EU, EU-Turkey relations, and sociology of communication and the media. She has also been working extensively as consultant, researcher and expert in EU-funded projects, including European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, Civil Society Dialogue Programme and EU 6th and 7th Framework Programmes.


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Nezih Erdoğan, Başak Şahin Acar, İdil Aybars

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