Programs by Country: Turkey + Dialogue of Civilizations

Istanbul and Bodrum-Mugla: Urban Space and Religion in Turkey *CLOSED*

Dialogue of Civilizations | Istanbul, Turkey

Faculty leader: Prof. Berna Turam (

Study Abroad Coordinator: Daisy Biddle (

Information Session: Jan 17th 3:30-4:30PM Renaissance Park (Second Floor Kitchen Area)

Term: Summer: II

Courses: SOCL3471 Social Conflict & Community Services Abroad

INTL4944 Dialogue of Civilizations


This course is designed as a fieldtrip research course, in which students develop their independent research projects in close collaboration with the Faculty Leader.  The driving interest of the research projects is to explore the increasingly controversial relations between the new pious Muslim elite and the old secular elite.  We will conduct hands on research on the fault-lines that divide the residents of the highly contested neighborhoods, such as Tesvikiye, Eyup, Taksim and Beyoglu in Istanbul.  How do ordinary people contest the borders that separate religion and politics?  How and why is secularism (separation of religion and politics) so controversial in the context of Turkey and the Middle East?

As most of the contestation against the pro-Islamic government has taken place in Istanbul, our focus will be on in urban space and religion.  Broadly speaking, we will explore how urban space, specifically neighborhood, is contested by ordinary residents, who differ and/or disagree over religion and the type of secularism.  However, we will also bring in gender, class age and possibly ethnicity as other factors influencing political discontent and contestation.  Students will read an exciting literature and be encouraged to ask questions about politics of Islam, religion, piety and secularism.