Zeyno Ustun is a graduate student in the department of Sociology at the New School for Social Research, a team member of Public Seminar and an independent researcher at the online data collecting and mapping platform Graph Commons.She received her Master's Degree in Sociology at Boğaziçi University in 2012, with the thesis titled “Desire of the Impossible; A Cultural Reading of Fantastic Cinema.”During her MA degree, she worked as a research assistant coordinating the project titled 'A Comprehensive View of the Competitiveness of Istanbul Hotels' affiliated with Boğaziçi University Scientific Research Fund and the Department of Tourism Administration and co-taught the course “Social Research Methods”.

Currently, in addition to her duties at the Public Seminar, her recent independent work with Graph Commons includes the latest collective project titled Networks of Dispossession a networked database on the relations of capital and power within urban transformation in Turkey, exhibited in the most recent Istanbul Biennale;Higher Education Industrial Complex a project on private universities and their boards of trustees connected to a network of corporations and institutions in Turkey; and Monovacationa project on the homogenized ‘nature’ of tourism, exhibited in many events from Tokyo to Marrakech Biennales.

Participated Projects

Public Seminar Current

Public Seminar is an extension of The New School’s legendary “General Seminar,” founded by the original exile scholars. Through it, we are constituting a public seminar for the 21st century. My duties as a team member includes social media and media planning, event organizations and content production.

Higher Education Industrial Complex 2013

Private universities and their boards of trustees connected to a network of corporations and institutions make the higher education industrial complex of Turkey. The network map contains 68 private universities (red), 625 member of the board of trustees (black), 970 organizations (blue colored corporations, foundations, associations, political parties, state universities), and 2001 relationships researched between organizations and people.

New Media — New Freedom? 2013

"New Media — New Freedom?"dealt with the role that the social media might have for the democratic development of a state with panelists from Germany, Syria, Iran, Turkey and the U.S. (Dr. Heinrich Kreft, Auswärtiges Amt, Berlin, Member of the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION, Sherry Al-Hayek, Arash Sigarchi, Lindsay Hofmann, and Zeyno Üstün).

Between the Door and the Street 2013

October 19, 2013 some 400 women and a few men–all selected to represent a cross-section of ages, backgrounds, and perspectives–gathered on the stoops along Park Place, a residential block in Brooklyn, where they engaged in unscripted conversations about a variety of issues related to gender politics today. As a member of the Women from Gezi Platform NYC, I was on the stoops with my friends discussing the stories of women during Gezi protests.

A Short History of Feminism in Turkey and Feminist Resistance in Gezi 2013

The conference “Talk Turkey: Rethinking Life Since Gezi” addresses key issues raised by the Gezi protests. Cihan Tekay and I co-presented at the panel titled "Rethinking Gezi Through Feminist and LGBT Perspectives".timeline and cited sources;text of the presentation

Networks of Dispossession 2013

The Networks of Dispossession is a collective data compiling and mapping project on the relations of capital and power of urban transformation. The first three network maps created by our collective was exhibited in Galata Greek School in Istanbul Biennial. Currently, the collective continues working on upcoming diagrams which will be published soon.

Save As Social Memory 2013

One of the major concerns during the Gezi resistance was how to keep the memories of pain, grief, anger, gains and losses alive. This symposium brought together three artists, a curator, and an academic who works in the area of software art, archive, and media archaeology to critically approach Gezi resistance and its link to social memory. I assisted the organizers to create the editorial content and carried out the translations.

Artist Collector Network: Phase III 2013

Artist Collector Network: Phase III is the third phase of an ongoing data collecting and mapping work that was exhibited in the Datascape exhibition at Borusan Contemporary in Istanbul, 26 April – 1 September 2013. I compiled the data, wrote the editorial content for the catalogue, and onsite wall text. I worked with Arıkan in the second phase of the project as well, which was exhibited in Maçka Art Gallery.

Fuji X100s Istanbul Shooting 2013

Zack Arias was in Istanbul to try out Fuji's new camera Fuji X100s with a colleague Harun Yasin making a film of Zack's shooting for Fuji. I assisted them in their project as the local producer. We spent five days in Istanbul together and I held the planning and guided them to a cultural tour in Istanbul.

Neoliberalism(s) 2013

For the Neoliberalism(s), Arıkan's most recent work in 11th Sharjah Biennial (13 March-13 May 2013), I assisted the artist in creating the questions for the Neolibrealim(s) survey that are directly stated without any tricks that the implementers of this technique appropriates or whatsoever, and are expressed in a certain way that reveals a description of neoliberalism. I also wrote the editorial content for the biennial catalogue.

Monovacation 2013

In"Monovacation", I helped Arikan to model a network map of conceptual relations between official tourism films, which will be automatically montaged by a custom software that traverses the network. I collected the short films, analysed and tagged the images and concepts presented in each clip. Then, I postcoded the tags, merged the similar ones and retagged the clips. The work is now being exhibited in Istabbul Modern between 07/02/2013 and 07/04/2013.

Islam, Republic, Neoliberalism, Istanbul Design Biennale 2012

Islam, Republic, Neoliberalism comprises of three network maps where mosques, republican monuments&museums and shopping centers dispersed throughout Istanbul connect to each other within their areas of influence. I researched the written sources and maps and gathered the data of the location of each node. Additionally, I wrote the catalogue text and carried out other editorial tasks.

Artist Collector Network 2011

Artist Collector Network is a data collecting and mapping research on the “nature” of the society of art. The work aims to reveal and question one of the fundamental dynamics of the society of art, the relations of artists and collectors. I assisted Arikan in compiling data for his artwork and carried out editorial tasks for both the first and the second base of the project.

A Comprehensive View of the Competitiveness of Istanbul Hotels 2011

The project aims to measure the competitiveness of hotels in Istanbul researching the work conditions of employees and employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, managerial data gathering and environmental sustainability. I performed as the project coordinator and carried out all the responsibilities regarding the conduct of field research.

Outdoor Survival Guide 2009

Author: Hugh McManner's. From constructing emergency shelters and testing plants for poison to making a compass and splinting a broken arm, this fully-illustrated guide teaches everything we need to know about staying alive in any environment. I translated Complete Wilderness Training Manual into Turkish in 2009, also had the chance to gain some skills of survival in the wild theoretically.

Gelincikler | Society of Peace with Nature 2009

We, as the Gelincikler team, developed a training cycle that teaches people a set of quick applications to the appliances of our homes in order to use less instead of recycle. I performed as the project coordinator, participated in the development process and conduct of the project and also attended youth in action programs of European Commission presenting our ideas.

APA Publication Manual 2009

Author: American Psychology Association. The Publication Manualis the style manual of choice for writers, editors, students, educators, and professionals in psychology, sociology, business, economics, nursing, social work, and justice administration, and other disciplines. Providing clear guidance on the mechanics of writing, APA offers an authoritative and easy-to-use reference and citation system. I participated the translation project published in 2009.

Gun A Visual History 2008

Author: DK. From the moment they made their first appearance on 14th century European battlefields, guns have shaped the course of human history. This indispensible guide profiles more than 300 of the most important firearms of all time.It has many pictures along with articles about guns and gun themes from sport rifles to Al Capone. I participated the translation project published in 2008.

Master's Thesis

Thesis submitted to the Bogazici University Institute for Graduate Studies in the Social Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Sociology by Zeynep Gokay USTUN approved by Assoc.Prof. Biray Kolluoglu (Thesis Advisor), Assist.Prof.Dr. Ceren Ozselcuk, Prof.Dr. Asuman Suner.


Desire of the Impossible; A Cultural Reading of Fantastic Cinema

In this study the fantastic cinema will be investigated in order to define a new kind of vulnerability of the subjects in late twentieth century. With the nineteenth century, the modern societies faced a process of disenchantment and secularization that resulted in a new mode of cultural production in the wake of late or consumerist capitalism which simply refers to that of postmodern mode of production. Accordingly, with the depletion of the mystical and supernatural forces within the cultural sphere, a new form of fantastic art that re-emerged as its true form as the game of the impossible has arisen. There was a growing interest in fantastic narratives; subjects of the late 20th century enjoyed the fantastic cinematic experience more than ever before.

The main aim of my work, therefore, is to grasp this obvious boom in the field of the fantastic in depth and read it in regard to the mode and the effect of the fantastic. Fantasy sine qua non refers to the reversal of the ground rules of our physical world, twisting and bending what is possible in our reality or simply the game of the impossible. Given this definition, particular products of the field may include marvelous, uncanny or mimetic elements separately or at once, even though these elements roughly correspond to the pre-modern, modern and the postmodern essence.

The fantastic cinema, in which these elements of particular periods of history may coexist, is a source for social and political representations that positions the subject in parallel to what we conceive as impossibility and allows one to investigate the shifts inherent. While contemporary mythological fantasy displays how our heroes derived from mythologies and attractively placed in fantastic narratives of today, the heroic and imaginative fantastic narratives, as the most popular mainstream products, offer mostly the mimetic elements and reflect the strong discourse of the neoliberal ideology keeping it up and running. Either offering a wake-up call for disturbed agents or a reinforcement of dominant ideologies for docile subjects of the Fantasy, fantastic fiction may serve us the impossibility merely achieved in the imaginary order or to show us that ‘another world is possible’ with the representations that serve the ideologies on a silver platter reinforcing the impossibility.

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Cirruculum Vitae


New School for Social Research, Sociology

Bogaziçi University Master of Arts in Sociology

Marmara University Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology
2003-2008​ * Graduated valedictorian

Cagaloglu Gymnasium

Work experience

New School for Social Research
Research Assistant at Public Seminar
2014 -

Independent Researcher
Assistant/Translator/Editor/Fixer in several projects
2011 -

Bogaziçi University
Research&Teaching Assistant/Project Coordinator
02.2011 - 09.2012

NGO Society of Peace with Nature
Project Coordinator
01.2005 – 01.2012

Kaknüs Publishing House
07.2007 – 11.2009

YDS Publishing
Freelance Test Writer
​02.2006 – 06.2007

Evrense​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​l Translation Office
Freelance Translator
01.2006 – 01.2007

Profil International HR
Data Operator
10.2005 – 01.2006

Dilkofen Publishing
Freelance Test Writer
03.2004 – 08.2005​


English, German


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