Professor Yasemin Ipek Joins Faculty

Professor Yasemin Ipek Joins Faculty

Yasemin Ipek recently joined our program as a tenure-track assistant professor. Before coming to George Mason, she completed two PhD degrees: in Anthropology at Stanford University, and in Political Science and Public Administration at Bilkent University. She has researched and written about major issues that shape both politics and everyday life in the Middle East, such as nationalism, sectarianism, activism, NGOs, refugees and humanitarianism. Ipek is very excited to be part of the Global Affairs program at George Mason, as the diversity of its faculty and students, its orientation towards both comprehensive and specialized degrees, and its unique combination of rigorous and applied research will allow her to expand on her interdisciplinary research and teaching.

Ipek is currently working on two research projects. In the first project, based on her fieldwork in Lebanon between 2012 and 2015, she examines how the Syrian refugee crisis has transformed Lebanese post-civil war efforts to fight sectarianism and promote nation-building. She is preparing three articles and a book that describe what she calls “cross-sectarian publics,” an imagined and practiced middle-class-led project of nation-building. She analyzes how the visions and practices of ethical activism within those publics have mobilized a wide-ranging set of actors: low-income or unemployed NGO volunteers, middle-class social entrepreneurs, advocacy activists, the returning Lebanese diaspora, high-level Lebanese bureaucrats, and Western aid workers. In her new research project, tentatively titled Islamic Humanitarianism: Transnational Care Networks in the Middle East, she explores how diverse sets of political actors combine religious, secular and cosmopolitan discourses and practices to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. Ipek is excited to integrate George Mason students into the preliminary phase of this project, and recently set up a team of undergraduate and graduate students who are collaborating to prepare a global map of current transnational Islamic institutions.

Ipek has taught courses on a wide range of subjects such as globalization, anthropology of the Middle East, refugees and humanitarianism, youth, activism and social movements, and qualitative research methods. During the spring semester, in addition to GLOA 101, she will teach the Anthro 331 course titled “Refugees in the Contemporary World,” which will unpack the communal and personal experiences associated with various forms of displacement globally. For her courses, Ipek likes to design research projects and assignments to support the growth of “students as scholars” at George Mason. She is in particular impressed by the diversity and vibrancy of students at George Mason, who are passionate about deeply learning and engaging with global issues. As a scholar who focuses on the Middle East, she has already met more than a dozen students who are eager to research more about the contemporary problems of the Middle East. Thus, she views George Mason’s campus as a place to thrive for both faculty and students, with many opportunities for collaborations across diverse disciplines and programs.

Ipek welcomes any opportunity to meet undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in studying global issues related to the Middle East. So, feel free to send her an email:

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