Ayten Alkan

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2018/2019
discipline Urban Studies
Independent Scholar & Member of School of Social Science, IAS, Princeton

Research project

Revisiting the Right to the City from the Perspective of the Non-Human: The Case of ‘Stray Animals’


The ideal and discourse of the “rights-based thinking”, reinvented by the philosophers of the Enlightenment by revitalizing the antique “natural rights”, had created a convenient epistemological terrain to introduce also the non-human animals to this progressive and expansionist debate in the course of time. Since H.S. Salt’s Animals' Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Progress (1894), the literature on the issue, albeit from different epistemological stand-points, has expanded and enriched. Academic and philosophical debate particularly revived by and after the 1970s, following certain avant-garde works on speciesism.


Simultaneously, specific rights allocated to urbanity, which were finally categorized under third generation (solidarity-based) rights, would be a consequence of the embodiment and particularization of the “rights-based thinking” as per the city and urban life. They now are widely known as “urban rights” within a rather liberal context, and the “right to the city” from a critical and/or neo-Marxist approach.


However, until now, there has not been a theoretical effort to intertwine these two progressive debates of “animal rights” and the “right to the city”. This study is an attempt to bridge this gap from an interdisciplinary perspective. The specific focus of the research is ‘stray animals’, who tell silently the oldest story of co-habitation and co-adaptation between two species, yet in the end who have been structurally disregarded.




Ayten Alkan is currently an Independent Scholar and Member of School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. She holds a PhD in Urban and Environmental Sciences from the University of Ankara.

Ayten Alkan’s research revisits the history of urbanization on the tracks of ever-changing human-nonhuman relations. It does so through a theoretical quest to incorporate the mentality of “Animal Rights” into the “Right to the City” debate. Her aim is to comprehend the city and urban life so as to include “other animals,” by focusing on the particular case of “stray animals.”


Selected publications


'Deportation as an Urban Stray Dogs Management Policy: Forest Dogs of Istanbul', Lex Localis - Journal of Local Self-Government, vol. 14, no. 3, 2016, pp. 615-638.


'The Repercussions of Gezi in the Context of Relations between (Urban) Space, Citizens, and Local/Central Governments', with C. Salman, in H. Aksu & G. Koç (eds), Another Brick in the Barricade: The Gezi Resistance and Its Aftermath, Wiener Verlag für Sozialforschung, Bremen, 2015, pp. 95-121.


'New Metropolitan Regime of Turkey: Authoritarian Urbanization via (Local) Governmental Restructuring', Lex Localis - Journal of Local Self-Government, vol. 13, no. 3, 2015, pp. 845-873.


'Gendered Structures of Local Politics in Turkey', Digest of Middle East Studies (DOMES), vol.18, no. 1, 2009, pp. 31-56.


Cins Cins Mekân (Gendered Spaces / Genus of Spaces), (ed.), Varlık, Istambul, 2009.



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Study (HWK)
discipline Education
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Study (HWK)
discipline History of Science and Technology
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Study (HWK)
discipline Cultural Studies
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Study (HWK)
discipline Social Anthropology