‘My name is Tugba Oztemir and as a Turkish-Dutch student in a predominantly white university I have come to understand how my (political) identity plays a role in every course and step I take, both on academic and non-academic fields.’ Read what Tugba has to say about Migration and Ethnic Studies.
Having finished my BA in English Literature and being near finishing my 3 different Masters, (one of them being the MA Sociology Migration Studies) I have not only crafted new identities, but also accumulated new critical analytical tools and designed new courses for diversity and inclusion at the UvA. The Social Sciences and Sociology Migration and Ethnic studies in particular, intrigued me and triggered me to dive deeper in the socio-political theories that shed light on social constructions in our everyday world such as gender, race, class, sex, etc, and how these social constructions not only influence and affect our way of conducting research but also are entangled with our ways in shaping discourses, policies, and law.
During this Master track, I could take electives from Gender Studies and other Master tracks which in turn broadened my view on interlinking macro socio-political theories with micro movements such as Maagdenhuisbezetting, UvA Diversity Commission, Black Lives Matter, Wij Blijven Hier, etc. My own social roles and social realities such as being Muslim and belonging to the LGBTQAI community, still crafts me in certain ways which resonates in a reality that only I can feel, see and undergo. This awareness is important when conducting research in the field, interpreting data or teaching theories and case studies. My frames of references can thus be seen as a tool and subjectivity is to be valued and acknowledged. This Master track has allowed me to do so and I was fortunate to find the perfect support by my supervisors (Apostolos & Chauvin) when writing my thesis on the highly educated Turkish-Dutch students and their feelings of belonging in the Netherlands.
A strong point that I found during this Masters was that my teachers and professors were eager to debate about everyday politics and social changes, whether at this university or elsewhere, that affected migration related law and policies. Peers were invited to debate and were called out when racist remarks were made. Tension was needed in order to pave a new way for empathy and inclusion. The idea of safe space for minority students and unvoiced students was taken seriously in my Master track and various teachers supported the ideology of Diversity and Inclusion at the UvA. I became aware of the importance of having a diverse curriculum, diverse articles and teachers with diverse backgrounds. This diversity in perspectives and in social roles aid the ongoing discussions in class where we could acknowledge the different realities and different forms of oppression in an allegedly universalized world. Diversity constituted empathy and perspective, and this Master track with all its courses, has proven the opportunities and tools to reach this.
This Master turned out to be the right choice for me. I had space to flourish as a decoloniality and diversity activist, space to co-create courses, space to debate, intrigue, and challenge my teachers and fellow students on the global and national changes related to migration and ethnic studies. This Master track has equipped me with interdisciplinary theories and encouraged me to become an outspoken student, teacher and upcoming professor.