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Övgü Ülgen

Övgü Ülgen
Address Université de Montréal
3744, rue Jean-Brillant
Montréal (Québec)
Canada H3T 1P1

E-Mail ovgu.ulgen@gmail.com


Mapping Trajectories of Belonging among the Sephardic Diaspora: An Analysis of Citizenship in Quebec and Canada

(Supervisor: Fahimeh Darchinian, Montréal
Mentoring: Charles Blattberg, Montréal / Michael Schönhuth, Trier)

The disastrous global outcomes of World War II entailed the formation of a new world order. In the wake of the Holocaust in Europe, the decolonization of Africa, the rise of Arab nationalism and anti-Semitism, there was a substantial wave of Jewish emigration from the Middle East and North Africa to Canada.

In the post-Cold War period (since 1989), the cosmopolitan thinking that forms the backbone of the neoliberal consensus paved the way for an openness to pluralism and a rethinking cosmopolitanism. In the context of globalization of late liberalism, the impact of diversity has become a source of concern for various multinational states. As a liberal multinational and multicultural democracy, Canada is very much concerned with both its diversity and the social cohesion of its diverse groups. The two discourses of integration characteristic of the multinational state which, I come to grips with here, emerged as a means of demystifying this challenge of diversity. Indeed, a detailed examination of multicultural and intercultural policies’ ramifications on the behaviour of generational groups remains a significant gap in prior studies. Hence, in this research, I contribute to the literature of citizenship by addressing the issue of pluralism through an ethnographic comparison of one specific ethnic group, namely Sephardic Jews, in two neighboring but different provinces.

How indeed can we bridge the gap in the extent literature on integration discourses by way of a longitudinal case study of the Sephardic sense of belonging in Canada? What are the constitutive moments of these two different formations of Sephardic diasporic identity as ‘post-colonial’ other? What changing patterns are visible in the origins and cultural practices, and in the continuities and ruptures of the identity transmission shaping post-colonial subjectivities through several generations? Accounting for the intersecting interests of pluralism, ethnography, post-coloniality, immigration, ethnicity, citizenship, and religion, this project contributes an analysis of the link between ethnicity and federal and provincial policies through a longitudinal study of two pluralist spaces/contexts. This project relies on the qualitative and comparative methods of ethnographic research and it derives its data from oral history interviews with the older cohort, participant observations at Jewish community events, and in-depth interviews and informal meetings with the younger population.


Since 2019
Doctoral Candidate at IRTG Diversity
Since 2017
PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Montreal
Master of Arts in Sociology, École des hautes en sciences sociales (magna cum laude)
Bachelor of Sociology, Middle East Technical University (honours degree)

Work Experience

Auxiliaire de recherche et Assistante technique, Université de Montréal
2016 - 2017
Chercheuse associée au projet de recherche "European Union Accession Process and the NGO-ization of Turkish Civil Society", Conseil national de recherche scientifique et technologique de Turquie (TUBITAK), dir. Özge Zihnioğlu.
2014 - 2015
Gestionnaire de projet à l’ONG "l’Association des Migrants pour la Coopération Sociale et Culturelle (Göç-Der)", (European Union), Istanbul/Turquie

Awards and Fellowships

Bourse Patrick Berdoz du département de sociologie de l’Université de Montréal (UdeM)
Prix de présence au Colloque de l’Association des cycles supérieurs de sociologie (ACSSUM) de l’UdeM, un cadeau féministe à l’Euguélionne, libraire féministe
Bourse en cours d’étude du département de sociologie de l’Université de Montréal (UdeM)
Bourse de mobilité du Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la diversité et la démocratie (CRIDAQ)-UdeM
2017 - 2018
Bourse d’admission du département de sociologie de l’Université de Montréal (UdeM)
Bourse d’exemption des droits supplémentaires de scolarité de l’Université de Montréal (UdeM) (pour les étudiants étrangères)
2016 - 2017
Bourse de recherche du Conseil national de recherche scientifique et technologique de Turquie (TUBITAK)
Bourse pour séjours de conférence de Bogazici University (BOUN)
2012 - 2013
Bourse de maîtrise de l’Ambassade de France en Turquie et de la Fondation turque pour l’Éducation (TEV)


(Review of) “Moments of Crisis: Religion and National Identity in Québec” by I. Morrison, in: Nations & Nationalism 26/3., mid-June (Forthcoming)
(Review of) "Impossible Exodus : Iraqi Jews in Israel" by O. Bashkin, in: Shofar : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 37/3. November, Forthcoming.
(Review of) "Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco, in: HistoireEngagee.ca, 13 décembre 2018, [en ligne]. http://histoireengagee.ca/memories-of-absence-how-muslims-remember-jews-in-morocco-recension/

Conference Presentations

On the Margin? Strange Encounters between Ashkenazim and Sephardim in the U.S., Quebec, and Canada From the Twentieth Century to the Present
Across borders: the Jews and the Others: Colloque bilingue et interuniversitaire à l’Université de Montréal (UdeM), organized by Collectif Judéité(s) et l’American Academy for Jewish Research (AAJR). Montreal, 10 March 2020.
Uncovering memory of the city within the purview of Jewish and Turkish gazes: Matrix of a comparative approach between Montreal and Istanbul
École d’été internationale La Ville/ The City/ Die Stadt, organized by Centre canadien d’études allemandes et européennes (CCÉAE), Montréal.
Racialized knowledge of the other : An intersectional (coupled with Orientalism) analysis of Mizahi/ Sephardi Jews in Israel, U.S. and Canadian scholarship (sur invitation)
La judéité dans les sciences humaines et sociales: Colloque bilingue et interuniversitaire à l’Université de Montréal (UdeM), organisé par le Collectif Judéité(s) et l’American Academy for Jewish Research (AAJR), Montreal
Rethinking Evolution of Egyptian Women’s Movement from nineteenth-century up to the 1952 Revolution within the context of Huda Sha’rawi and Doria Shafik leaderships (sur concours)
12th Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA). Prague
Rethinking socio-economic and spatial dimensions of Urban Projects as a shift from 1980s to an authoritarian neoliberalism under AKP in Turkey through The Kanal Istanbul Project (sur concours)
2nd International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP). Milan
Between Collective Memory and Experience: The Perceptions of State Violence among Second Generation Kurdish Migrant Women in Tarlabaşı (sur concours)
Gendered Memories of War and Political Violence Young Researchers Conference, organisé par Sabancı University (SU) et Central European University (CEU). Karaköy Minerva Palace/ İstanbul
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