“Cartography of Hair:y_less Masculinities” was presented by Dr. Melike Şahinol and Burak Taşdizen at the Research Colloquium held by Orient-Institut Istanbul on April 1, 2020, followed by a Q&A session with a participating audience from Germany, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The colloquium was moderated by Dr. Katja Rieck.
The colloquium took off with a welcome speech delivered by Prof. Dr. Raoul Motika and followed by the presentation and a discussion.
Dr. Melike Şahinol discussed the theoretical framework for the study, which brings together biomedicalization, post-human feminism, and masculinity studies. Later, Burak Taşdizen disseminated the preliminary research results from the fieldwork that has been continuing since February, 2020. The preliminary research results indicate that there are cultural differences of hair practices in Turkey and Iran and thus different masculinities taking shape through hair:y_less. Not only socio-cultural or socio-political factors were discussed, but also historical and geographical connotations for the shaping of post-human masculinities.
The colloquium took place online, via Zoom, due to physical distancing required by COVID-19 outbreak.
Burak Taşdizen talked to Max Weber Stiftung on his previous and current research projects, and his research practice in general, including the research project “Cartography of Hair:y_less Masculinities”.
In our research on the re-mapping of hair in men’s bodies by (non)medical practices, it was surprising to see how medicalization of bodies is a gendered practice, yet the literature was mostly focusing on medicalization of women’s bodies such as the post-natal or menopausal female body. Although there are historical accounts on men and their hair practices, medicalization of these practices via current technologies remains relatively unexplored in the social sciences. In the past years, more and more men have started to consult medical expertise to (re)shape their bodies, examples of which are hair/beard/moustache transplants. These procedures, for which Istanbul has become a global hub attracting patients from not only Europe and the Middle East but also from overseas countries such as Brazil, help men regain a more accepted look in society so long as they subscribe to societal norms. Such interventions on men’s bodies become especially interesting when considering the plurality of masculinities, in which only some of them are desired and others are not, and how technologies take active part in the negotiation and (re)shaping of bodies and thus gender.
As part of the project, we had an internal workshop titled “Technology and the Body: Care, Empowerment, and the Fluidity of Bodies” on 21 January, 2020 at Orient-Institut Istanbul. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, the workshop brought together two research fields of Orient-Institute Istanbul, namely, “Human, Medicine and Society”, and “Study of Religions”, each with a distinctive approach to the study of body.