Tankut Atuk

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I joined the Department of STS as an Assistant Professor of Sociology of Public Health and Medicine. I am an interdisciplinary scholar whose research is situated at the intersections of Public/Global Health, Medical Sociology/Anthropology, Social Epidemiology, and Queer Health Activism. I have master’s degrees in Gender Studies and Sociology. I hold a PhD in Feminist Studies with a minor in Anthropology. My current book project looks at the socio-epidemiological dimensions of the highly politicized HIV epidemic in Turkey where public health has become a pathogenic technology. Through community-engaged and activist research, I seek to understand and redress the ways in which the formal actors of public health leave HIV-negative people, particularly LGBTQI+ communities, susceptible to HIV infection and HIV-positive people defenseless against socio-medical violence. In addition to this project, I am starting a new investigation at the intersections of AI, telehealth, and health justice. I am analyzing a series of case studies on how healthbots, chatbots used in healthcare, and telehealth platforms reproduce and transform existing inequalities embedded in medicine. 

I firmly agree with bell hooks that education can be a practice of freedom and that he can create better futures and contribute to local and global struggles for equality and self-determination through education. I follow developments in teaching pedagogies and strategies to remain up to date with students’ learning needs. My teaching philosophy draws from feminist, anti-racist, and decolonial pedagogies and embraces Paolo Freire’s problem-solving method in which the primary role of the instructor is to create the right conditions for students to discover the answers for themselves, while being guided and trained in the ways of independent, creative, and free thinking. I teach courses that center not only active learning but also student well-being. 

I am passionate about teaching and researching, but I am also aware that radical social change is not possible without activism and community involvement. I am an active member of grassroots HIV organizations in and beyond Turkey. As an activist-scholar, I am especially invested in producing academic work that is not divorced from the lived realities and is capable of intervening in structural inequalities and injustices. Outside of the academy, I am a proud dog and plant father. I strive to live a vegetarian life as I am firmly convinced that environmental justice, animal rights, and human rights are inextricable.

Education & Training

PhD, University of Minnesota

MA, Central European University

MA, Complutense University of Madrid

BA, Bosphorus University


Primary Research Focus
Medical Anthropology/Sociology
Other Focus Areas

Public/Global Health; Sexual Health; Social Epidemiology; HIV; PrEP


Current Courses

Sociology/Medical Sociology

Epidemics & Pandemics


2023 (in progress) “Monkeypox, Where Is Your Rage?”: What Went Wrong with Global and Public Health Governance of Mpox?, PLOS Global Public Health

2023 “If I knew you were a travesti, I wouldn’t have touched you”: Iatrogenic Violence and Trans Necropolitics in Turkey," Social Science & Medicine

2022    “Social Pathologies and Urban Pathogenicity: Rethinking Public Health,” Urban Studies. (co-authored with Susan Craddock) 

2021    “Academia and Hungry Ethics: From ‘Being Ethical’ to ‘Becoming-Sangtin’,” Gender, Place, and Culture, 29(7). 

2020    “Pathopolitics: Pathologies and Biopolitics of PrEP,” Frontiers in Sociology, Medical Sociology5. (Best Graduate Student Paper Award received by the AIDS and Anthropology Research Group of the Society for Medical Anthropology, 2021)

2020    Cruising in-between immunity and community: an ethnography of virtual cruising in Istanbul,” Sexualities.

2020    “Cruising in the Research Field: Queer-Feminist-Cyber Auto-ethnography,” International Review of Qualitative Research, 13(3).

2019    “Comrades-in-[Each Other’s]-Arms: Homosociality, Masculinity and Effeminacy in the Turkish Army,” Men and Masculinities24(1).

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