PhD Dissertation


2020 — 2022
Research + Coordination

2019 — 2022
Exhibition + Journal Article


2021 — 2022




Journal Article


Journal Article

2017 — 2019
Workshop Series

Workshop Series

Journal Article

2014 — 2017
M.Sc. Degree

2016 — 2017

2014 — 2015

Research + Design

Summer School

2010 — 2014
Bachelor Degree

International Standing Working Group Iran and Beyond – Breaking the Ground for Sustainable Scholarly Collaboration (IRSSC) — Performance of Culture, Religion, and Body as Strategies of Self-Empowerment in the Islamic Republic Iran︎︎︎︎︎︎︎︎︎

IRSSC was a research project led by Orient-Institut Istanbul as a part of Max Weber Foundation’s international research project “Knowledge Unbound” (Wissen Entgrenzen) between January 2020 and February 2022, which was funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). “Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Cartography” was a subproject within IRSSC.


Under difficult economic conditions and in the context of rapid socio-cultural change due to globalization and the demographic shift, citizens of Iran make use of their cultural resources in various ways to confront the struggles of their daily lives. In the face of globalization, migration, urbanization, and the dissemination of technically mediated forms of expression, practices of cultural expression are modified and multiplied, becoming socially differentiated. In this context, local as well as global patterns of cultural, religious, and bodily performance are gaining importance. Traditional forms of authenticity (such as the identities of minorities or regional music styles), global forms of expression (esotericism, new kinds of religiosity, transhumanism as a postmodern current, vegetarianism/veganism, music-related subcultures), but also advanced technological possibilities for the “conquest of the human condition” (‘Human Enhancement’) are causing profound transformations of social interaction and group identities as well as the human body. On the basis of selected research questions, mainly pertaining to the Turkey–Iran–Pakistan sphere, IRSSC investigates the efficacy of these concepts – be it in cross-border entanglements or in their parallel existence.

The creative appropriation of practices and discourses that is fostering rapid social change takes place in tension to and in dialog with currently accepted norms and practices. These are for example related to Shiite Islam, and phenomena such as those concerning body habitus, religious ritual, gender roles as well as active and passive access to music. Conditions of modern-day mediality and the resulting multiplication of social interaction lead to a larger, internally more differentiated, and hybrid repertoire of practices in dealing with public institutions as well as with an international public sphere, e.g. via social media. These questions will be investigated with qualitative methods of social and cultural research in relation to the areas of music, religion, and (body-modifying) therapeutic and non-therapeutic medicine.


Project Leadership
Raoul Motika, Director of OII (04.2019 – 09.2020)
Katja Rieck, OII, Postdoctoral Fellow (09.2020 – 02.2022)

Principal Investigators 
Judith I. Haug, OII, Music in the Ottoman Empire and in Turkey
Robert Langer, OII, The Religious History of Anatolia
Melike Şahinol, OII, Human, Medicine, and Society

Project Coordination
Burak Taşdizen, OII, Human, Medicine, and Society


IRSSC project included four separate subprojects supervised by separate researchers affiliated with the project. There subprojects and their researchers were as follows:

  • Iran: Classical Music and Society, supervised by Kamyar Nematollahy
  • Bodies of Knowledge Facing Epidemics, supervised by Shahrzad Irannejad
  • A Cartography of Hair:y_less Masculinities, supervised by Melike Şahinol, and assisted by Burak Taşdizen
  • (Re)Doing Charity. From Post-Revolutionary Governmentality to Civil Society Self-Empowerment?, supervised by Katja Rieck

You may access the subproject abstracts here.


I was responsible for project coordination within IRSSC led by Project Lead Katja Rieck and project coordination and research within the subproject "Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Cartography" led by co-PI Melike Şahinol. My tasks included: 

  • Coordinating and documenting regular IRSSC meetings
  • Assisting in the organization of public film festivals in Istanbul and Hamburg as part of IRSSC
  • Assisting in the organization of academic workshops, roundtables, and panels 
  • Translating from English to Turkish and vice versa for the Orient-Institut Istanbul website and public events, and proofreading commissioned translations, when requested.

Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Cartography [Hair:y_less Masculinities. Bir Kartografi]


The growing cultural enthusiasm for cosmetic surgery and the techno-medical modification of the body have long since reached men’s world, and thus, medicalized masculinities. Among the top five cosmetic procedures most frequently chosen by men are laser epilation in the category of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures and hair transplantation in the category of cosmetic surgical procedures. Turkey and Iran, the two countries emerging as world’s health tourism destinations around the globe, have not remained indifferent to the increasing interest in cosmetic surgery in particular for hair transplant procedures tailored towards men. Considering its location, Turkey’s health tourism appeals to men medical tourists from both the West and the Middle East. Iran, following Turkey, emerges to have the second largest market share in the Middle East. Against the backdrop of medicalization of hair across cultures in recent decades, that is, the construction of hair as a medical problem to be fixed using medical means, this subproject addresses this issue in the Turkish and Iranian contexts utilizing a comparative approach, the two global locales for hair transplantation. Hair transplantation and laser epilation procedures, the two most common medical and nonmedical procedures men go through, are selected to understand both the desired and the undesired hairiness on men’s bodies. Hence, “a cartography of hair:y_less masculinities.”

With a special emphasis on the somatechnics of male hair removal and transplantation practices, this project analyses men’s hair care by drawing a cartography of male body hair removal and hair transplantation norms and practices in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Turkey. The comparative perspective between these practices in Iran and Turkey is therefore significant in order to elaborate country-specific socio-cultural differences, influences coming from various currents, different empowerment strategies surrounding beauty, body care and (medicalized) masculinities despite cultural proximity.


  • Melike Şahinol, Subproject Lead, IRSSC Co-PI
    OII, Human, Medicine, and Society

  • Burak Taşdizen, Subproject Research Fellow, IRSSC Project Coordinator
    OII, Human, Medicine, and Society

  • Gülşah Başkavak, Subproject Research Fellow (04.2021 - 02.2022)
    OII, Human, Medicine, and Society

  • Conducting a literature review within the scope of the IRSSC subproject
  • Preparing the ethics approval application prior to commencing fieldwork
  • Coordinating fieldwork with multiple stakeholders within a given time frame
  • Participant acquisition through social media especially in Turkey, and in Iran
  • Conducting face-to-face and online semi-structured qualitative interviews with doctors, and patients
  • Conducting participant observations at clinics
  • Qualitative analysis of gathered data on ATLAS.ti
  • Designing of a multi-lingual qualitative survey on UniPark, and coordinating the translations
  • Preparing a survey analysis report
  • Publishing research results in the form of an indexed journal article, a book chapter, and a science communication book
  • Disseminating research results at international and national conferences
  • Initiating and maintaining a project website for the IRSSC subproject


This research followed a qualitative approach, and its three-phased fieldwork started in March 2020 and ended in September 2021, extending across one and a half year across Turkey and Iran utilizing physical and online means. I conducted the first two phases (physical and online interviews and observations) between March 2020 and June 2020 under the supervision of co-PI and subproject lead Melike Şahinol. The third phase (online survey) was between September 2020 and September 2021, during which Gülşah Başkavak was added during the online survey for the fieldwork. 

Grounding the Research Topic for the Subproject

On January 21, 2020, an internal workshop titled Technology and the Body: Care, Empowerment and the Fluidity of Bodies was co-organized by IRSSC co-PIs Melike Şahinol, Robert Langer, and IRSSC project coordinator and subproject research fellow Burak Taşdizen. I presented a literature review titled Posthuman Feminist Theory: Body Modification and Empowerment and invited to debate the gendered body modifications such as gender reassignment surgery and hair transplantation that are shared across Turkey and Iran. During the roundtable, scholars who have regional and thematic expertise discussed the applicability of the research topics in Turkey and Iran. Following the Internal Workshop, I prepared a workshop report and shared it with the participants on February 14, 2020. Following the Internal Workshop, hair transplantation was focused as a topic of study within the scope of IRSSC. An application was prepared and submitted to Özyeğin University Research Ethics Committee on February 10, 2020. Following the positive response from the committee in question on March 2, 2020, the fieldwork started.

IRSSC Co-PI Melike Şahinol and IRSSC Project Coordinator Burak Taşdizen welcome the audience during the internal workshop on January 21 2020. Photograph: Yağmur Genç

1st Phase of the Fieldwork: Participant Observation and Interviews at a Private Clinic

First phase of the fieldwork is before the official start of the pandemic in Turkey, which corresponds to mid-March 2020. Between March 2 (receiving the positive response from Ethics Committee) until March 11 (the date when the first case COVID-19 case in Turkey was announced), I was able to visit a private hair transplantation clinic in Istanbul, Turkey together with project lead Melike Şahinol. There, we conducted a participant observation of 1 hair transplantation procedure, conducted 5 face to face, semi-structured interviews, along with 4 ethnographic interviews. Following the physical distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the research employed an online methodology. Although the travel arrangements such as purchasing of flight tickets and hotel reservations were made, the pandemic brought international travel restrictions which also applied to travel between Turkey and Iran. Therefore, due to travel restrictions and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, we decided to shift towards an online format, and conduct interviews via video or phone calls.

2nd Phase of the Fieldwork: Online Interviews (via Videocall, Phonecall and E-mail)

After the second phase of the fieldwork, 20 semi-structured interviews and 4 ethnographic interviews were conducted with actor groups such as doctors, male hair transplant patients and intermediary actors. Between March 2020 and June 2020, I conducted 15 interviews via videocall (8) and phonecall (7). Following the transcriptions, I uploaded all the data on the qualitative analysis software ATLAS.ti, coded all the interviews. Considering only one third of the interviews involved Iranian participants, project lead Melike Şahinol reflected on the ways in which Iranian participants could be acquired online. I designed Persian call for participant poster and Instagram images, and the translation was made by IRSSC project member Shahrzad Irannejad. In May 2020, an e-mail interview in two successive steps was conducted in Persian with the help of IRSSC project member Shahrzad Irannejad. First, a set of questions prepared in Persian was sent to the participant. Following his responses to the first set, second set of questions was sent. This format was discontinued, as it was concluded to be inefficient in retrieving data.

Visual probe used during the interviews.
Visual probe used during the interviews.

3rd Phase of the Fieldwork: Online Survey

To acquire more Iranian participants, an online survey was decided upon. For this purpose, I began designing an online survey based on the early analysis results of the first two phases of fieldwork. The survey did not constitute the immediate focus of the project at the time due to the available data from the conducted fieldwork. Therefore, the design of the survey stretched over an almost 1-year period (September 2020 – July 2021) during which Gülşah Başkavak was included in the final quarter (April 2021 – July 2021). I created the survey using the web-based survey software QuestBack (Unipark). Between September 2020 and July 2021, I was the prominent responsible person for the uploading of survey material in three languages on UniPark, and for contacting the UniPark support whenever required. Before the survey was made accessible to the public, to evaluate whether the respondents’ understandings of survey questions and the flow of survey on UniPark were as desired, I conducted 3 cognitive tests via video call, all of which were audio and video recorded following the consent of participants. Cognitive tests helped determine problem areas to be modified for a better survey experience, and ultimately accurate findings. The anonymous, online survey remained accessible for 38 days (28.07.2021 - 03.09.2021). The survey was offered in three languages: Turkish, Persian, English. The survey was disseminated via social media platforms, personal websites, and e-mails. I designed social media visuals in three languages in two formats specific to Instagram and Twitter. Together with Gülşah Başkavak, I prepared a written report on the findings of the survey.


For detailed discussions of subproject results, please refer to the publications listed under “List of Scholarly Output”.

  • Hair is a material actor shaping and being shaped in the construction of masculinities.
  • Posthuman masculinities, constructed through and through cosmetic surgeries such as hair transplantation and laser epilation, are both emancipatory as it paves the way towards self-realization and normative as it helps consolidate and naturalize gendered differences.
  • The participants’ drawings, which are central to the science communication book ‘Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Cartography’, discloses the cartography of desired and undesired hair:y_less male body, wherein hair resists the techno-medical imaginaries through its Eigensinn, despite the natureculture metaphors that readily construct it as highly malleable and passive.


Co-organized Workshops

  • 21.1.2020: “Technology and the Body: Care, Empowerment and the Fluidity of Bodies”, Orient-Institut Istanbul. Co-organized with Melike Şahinol and Robert Langer.
  • 25.06.2020: “Iterations of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Themes and Problem Spaces in Turkey, Iran and Germany”, Orient-Institut Istanbul, (online).
  • 20.08.2020: “Medicalized Masculinities: Knowledge Exchange from Denmark to Turkey” (in collaboration with Medicine Man, Southern University of Denmark), Orient-Institut Istanbul.

    Poster for the workshop "Iterations of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Themes and Problem Spaces in Turkey, Iran and Germany".Poster for the workshop "Iterations of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Themes and Problem Spaces in Turkey, Iran and Germany".

Co-organized Film Forums

  • 12.11.2021-13.11.2021: Film Forum “Iran at the Crossways: Documentaries and Dialogues on a Society in Transition”, Orient-Institut Istanbul, Hamburg (online).
  • 20.01.2022-22.01.2022: Film Forum “Iran at the Crossways: Documentaries and Dialogues on a Society in Transition”, INSTITUT FRANÇAIS de Turquie à Istanbul-Taksim, Istanbul.

Poster for the film festival “Iran at the Crossways: Documentaries and Dialogues on a Changing Society”.
Poster for the film festival “Iran at the Crossways: Documentaries and Dialogues on a Changing Society”.

Co-organized IRSSC Closing Conference

  • 10.02.2022-12.02.2022: IRSSC Closing Conference, Orient-Institut Istanbul (online).

Co-organized Panels

  • 10.02.2022: “Perform_Factur_Ing/Healthy/Wo_Man: Iran, Turkey, and Beyond” at the IRSSC Closing Conference, Orient-Institut Istanbul, (online).
  • 21.01.2022: “Modified (Hu)Man: Gelenekler, Kırılganlıklar ve Olası Gelecekler” [Modified (Hu)Man: Traditions, Vulnerabities and Possible Futures] at the Film Forum “Iran at the Crossways: Documentaries and Dialogues on a Society in Transition”, INSTITUT FRANÇAIS de Turquie à Istanbul-Taksim, Istanbul.



  • Şahinol, M., Taşdizen, B., & Başkavak, G. (2022). Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Cartography. Bonn: Şahinol, Melike (in cooperation with

The cover of the book "Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Cartography".
The cover of the book "Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Cartography".

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  • Şahinol, M. & Taşdizen, B. (2021). “Medicalised Masculinities in Turkey and Iran: The Eigensinn of Hair in Hair Transplantation.” Somatechnics 11(1). 

Book Chapters

  • Şahinol, M. & Taşdizen, B. (2022). “İnsan Sonrası Erkek(lik): Saç Ekimi Örneği”  [Posthuman Masculinity: The Case of Hair Transplantation]. In Çokludisiplinlerde Posthümanizm, eds. S. Buran and P. Kümbet. Transnational Press: London.


  • Taşdizen, B. (2020). “Posthuman Feminist Theory: Body Modification and Empowerment”, Technology and the Body: Care, Empowerment and the Fluidity of Bodies, 21 January 2020, Istanbul (Turkey).
  • Şahinol, M. & Taşdizen, B. (2020): Cartography of Hair:y_less Masculinities: An Introduction, Orient-Institut Istanbul Research Colloquium, 1 April 2020, online.
  • Şahinol, M. & Taşdizen, B. (2020). “Everyday Cyborgs: Men with Implanted/Transplanted Hair and its Eigensinn”, EASST + 4S Joint Conference: Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and Agency of STS in Emerging Worlds, 18-21 August 2020, online.
  • Şahinol, M. & Taşdizen, B. (2021). “Colonizing Men’s Bodies: Natureculture Metaphors around Hair Transplantation”, I U A E S: The Re-invention of Traditions in the Middle East, 7-9 August 2021, online.
  • Şahinol, M. & Taşdizen, B. (2021). “Entangled Empowerment: Connecting Shared Hair Transplantation Practices for Men in Turkey and Iran”, Connecting Themes: Contested Knowledge in a Connected World Conference, 16-17 September 2021, Berlin, (Germany).
  • Şahinol, M., Taşdizen, B., & Başkavak, G. (2021). Cinsiyetlendirilmiş Hijyen: Erkeklerde Saç ve Kıl Bakım Pratikleri [Gendered Hygiene: Men’s Haircare Practices], STS TURKEY 2021: Bir Disiplin Olarak Kimlik İnşası, 22-24 November 2021, online.


  • 27-28.05.2021: “Medicalized Masculinities: Shaping Men’s Bodies Across Time and Space” (in collaboration with Medicine Man, Southern University of Denmark) (postponed twice, and eventually cancelled due to the pandemic)