Dr. Arzu Ünal is a social anthropologist and post doctoral fellow at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). She received her PhD from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in 2013. Her work addresses the diverse and changing sartorial practices of Turkish-Dutch Muslim women, and based on multi-sited ethnographic research her thesis rearticulates Muslim sartorial practices as inherently related to the dilemmas of everyday clothing, and emphasizes that women make choices informed by a wide range of factors, including piety, generation, aesthetics, gender, economic status and social context.
She is currently based in Turkey and conducting her research titled ‘Disengaging Marriage from Motherhood: an ethnographic perspective on midlife single women and single mothers in Turkey’ as part of ERC project Problematizing Muslim Marriages: Ambiguities and Contestations. Her research aims to understand the shifting meanings of marriage, family and femininity in Turkey through single women’s decoupling of marriage from motherhood. It explores women’s confrontations and negotiations with different groups of people (family, relatives, friends, professional networks, religious circles and the state) and beyond about their strong desire to become mothers as they near the end of the age of fertility. It investigates how women accommodate their desire to become mothers outside the normative expectations of heterosexual marriage and the ways in which women strive to become (different types of) mothers.
Unal, Arzu, ‘Disengaging Marriage from Motherhood: an ethnographic perspective on midlife single women and single mothers in Turkey,’ seminar at Sabancı University, Cultural Studies, 15 May 2018.
Unal, Arzu, ‘Narratives of Adoptive Single Mothers in Turkey. Guest speaker: Şehnaz Karakuş, Adoptive Single Mother and Founding Member of Foster Parents Foundation,’seminar at Boğaziçi University, Sociology department, 17 November 2017.