Gendered Fortunes: Divination, Precarity, and Affect in Postsecular Turkey

by Zeynep K. Korkman
Duke University Press, 2023
eISBN: 978-1-4780-2416-3, OA eISBN: 9781478093558, Cloth: 978-1-4780-1690-8, Paper: 978-1-4780-1954-1

In Gendered Fortunes, Zeynep K. Korkman examines Turkey’s commercial fortunetelling cafés where secular Muslim women and LGBTIQ individuals navigate the precarities of twenty-first-century life. Criminalized by long-standing secularist laws and disdained by contemporary Islamist government, fortunetelling cafés proliferate in part because they offer shelter from the conservative secularist, Islamist, neoliberal, and gender pressures of the public sphere. Korkman shows how fortunetelling is a form of affective labor through which its participants build intimate feminized publics in which they share and address their hopes and fears. Korkman uses feeling—which is how her interlocutors describe the divination process—as an analytic to view the shifting landscape of gendered vulnerability in Turkey. In so doing, Korkman foregrounds “feeling” as a feminist lens to explore how those who are pushed to the margins feel their way through oppressive landscapes to create new futures.

Zeynep K. Korkman is Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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