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I was born in Izmir, Turkey in 1987 May. I was named Defne by my uncle Erdinç Gönenç. I finished primary, secondary, and high school in Izmir. This city has a very special place in my life since this is where I initially developed a love for reading, writing, dancing, and pets. 


In 1997, I started learning how to play piano, which I still enjoy a lot. I generally play classical music but my favorite piece remains Libertango! It reminds me of liberty and aspiration. 

I moved to Ankara for my BSc in International Relations at METU in 2005. After spending one semester as an exchange student in Paris at Sciences PO, I completed my BSc years in 2010 with an additional minor in economics. These years were when I realized how much I enjoyed studying social sciences and understood that social sciences should be studied in a multi-disciplinary and holistic manner. 

In 2010-2011, I spent a year in Cambridge for my MPhil in International Relations. This was certainly the greenest year of my life full of beautiful, tall trees and squirrels. It was not only an academic hub but also a colourful paradise. 

After doing various internships and wondering about life, I started a PhD in 2013 in Geneva in Political Science and International Relations. While researching environmental politics and justice, I also worked as a Teaching Assistant and realized how much I enjoyed teaching. I also took several Latin dance classes and participated in celebratory dance festivals in various countries.

Now, I am back in Izmir.  I teach Academic Reading and Writing English at Izmir Private Turkish College and work at the Study Abroad Programs for the Advanced Placement (AP) courses. I am also a visiting scholar at the Department of International Relations at Istinye University. My research focuses on global environmental politics and justice, the political economy of developing countries, critical theory, and India and the Mediterranean, particularly Greece, and Turkey. 

What do I like to do when I do not do research? I enjoy reading novels, playing piano, theatre, dancing, windsurfing, playing table tennis, writing, and eating good food.  I love watching Beetlejuice and I have a great cat :) My favourite novels are Little Prince, Grapes of Wrath, and Anna Karenina. I particularly enjoy reading French, Russian, and Turkish literature. I love the smell of books since my childhood.


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