Emek Ergun

Emek Ergun

Associate Professor

Dr. Emek Ergun is an Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Global Studies. She joined UNC Charlotte in 2016 after completing her PhD in the Interdisciplinary Program of Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Dr. Ergun’s interdisciplinary expertise lies at the junction of transnational feminist studies, feminist translation studies, and border studies. More specifically, her research focuses on the political role of translation in disrupting local heteropatriarchal discourses and connecting feminist texts, activists, and movements across borders, particularly between the US and Turkey.

Dr. Ergun is a committed teacher whose pedagogical practices center on the feminist principles of intersectionality, planetary interconnectedness, and cross-border solidarity. Among the courses Dr. Ergun has been teaching at UNC Charlotte are: WGST 1502–Introduction to Gender Activism and Equity (GenEd course with the Global focus), WGST 3050/INTL 3000–Transnational Feminisms, WGST 3050/INTL3003–Solidarity Across Borders, WGST 6627/PHIL 6627–Feminist Theory and Its Applications (graduate seminar), WGST 3050.080/INTL 3000.080–Global Masculinities (summer course), and WGST 2170/INTL 3000–Gender and Globalization (summer course).

Dr. Ergun’s first single-authored book, Virgin Crossing Borders: Feminist Resistance and Solidarity in Translation was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2023. The book aims to highlight translation as a fundamental question of transnational feminist politics. Feminist texts and discourses have always traveled in translation, activating various political relations and trans/formations on their rather imbalanced routes. Yet, the specifics of such cross-border mobilities and their political impact have not received much scholarly attention in feminist studies, global studies, or critical translation studies. Recognizing the intricate relationship between “transnational” and “translation,” Virgin Crossing Borders aims to intervene in that literature gap by bringing translation to the center of transnational feminist inquiry to study how translation enables exchanges of feminist theories, stories, knowledges, and affects across borders. The book achieves that by unpacking the ways in which the subversive virginity knowledges of Hanne Blank’s Virgin: The Untouched History (2017), a US book on the western history of virginity, traveled to Turkey through her feminist translation. Comparing the US and Turkey, two unevenly positioned cultures with different configurations of virginity, different feminist legacies of resistance, and different geohistorical conditions of possibility, Ergun’s book examines how a western-identified feminist book was crossculturally mobilized to unsettle Turkey’s heteropatriarchal virginity codes and what kinds of political impact its translation generated among feminists on the multiple scales of the subjective, the local, and the global. Dr. Ergun is currently writing her second book tentatively titled An Introduction to Feminist Translation (Routledge).

Dr. Ergun is also the co-editor of Feminist Translation Studies: Local and Transnational Perspectives (Routledge, 2017) and the 5th edition of Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives (Routledge, 2020). She is currently co-editing with Prof. Carole McCann of UMBC the 6th edition of Feminist Theory Reader to be published by Routledge in 2025.

Additionally, Ergun is a feminist translator and her most recent published translations include Yakın, the Turkish translation of Octavia E. Butler’s classic speculative novel Kindred (Ithaki Press, 2019) and the English co-translation titled The Purple Color of Kurdish Politics (Pluto Press, 2022). She is currently working on the Turkish translation of Canadian trans writer and artist of color Vivek Shraya’s award-winning and best-selling book, I’m Afraid of Men (Penguin Random House Canada, 2018). The Turkish translation, which has been sponsored by an NC Humanities Summer Grant under the project title, “Trans Stories Crossing Borders: How to Grow Together in Translation?” will be published in Turkey by a feminist publisher called Güldünya.