Zehra Cunillera obtained her B.A. in English Literature at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul (1997) and her M.A. in historical anthropology at New York University, Department of Near Eastern Studies (2000). Her master’s thesis at NYU, supervised by Lila Abu-Loughod, deals with the articulations between gender issues and the bourgeois family model in late nineteenth century Ottoman novels. Upon her return to Turkey, she works as a teaching assistant at the University of Sabancı in Istanbul (2000-2002).  Settling in Paris in 2002, she obtained another M.A. in French under the supervision of François Georgeon at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Department of History and Civilizations. Currently, she is pursuing her doctoral studies at the EHESS-CESPRA under the supervision of Nilüfer Göle. Her PhD dissertation, entitled “From the ‘Imported’ Imams to the ‘Native’ Theologians: A Sociological Study on the Formation of Muslim Religious Personnel and Production of Islamic Knowledge in Europe,” is an inquiry into the emergence of young European Muslim theologians especially in France and Germany. (See the thesis proposal).

Her passion for translation — the delicate yet fascinating process of negotiating between languages — has always been a central component of Zehra Cunillera’s academic journey. She has worked for over 15 years as a freelance translator for the Istanbul Film Festival. She has also been involved in translating research data (i.e. Open Society Institute, Muslims in EU Cities Project) and monographs in social sciences.

From 2009 to 2014, Zehra Cunillera was part of the EuroPublicIslam research team as an archivist, researcher and editorial assistant.

Translation works:

Günlük Yaşam ve Müslümanlar: Avrupa İslamı’nın Mikrososyolojisi by Nilüfer Göle (original title: Musulmans au Quotidien. Une enquête européenne sur les controverses autour de l’islam), Istanbul: Metis, forthcoming.

Sıradan Duygulanımlar by Kathleen Stewart (original title: Ordinary Affects), Istanbul: Boğaziçi University Press, 2008.

Bilime Sevdalanmak: Akılda Kalan Nesneler by Sherry Turkle (ed.) (original title: Falling for Science : Objects in Mind),  Istanbul: Boğaziçi University Press, 2009, (second edition, 2014).


“(Ré)tisser son chez-soi en patchwork: les Turcs de Berlin en mineur” (Weaving One’s Home in Patchwork: The Turks of Berlin-Minor) in Nilüfer Göle (ed.), En-quête de lislam européen, Perpignan: Halfa, forthcoming.