The Council on Middle East Studies Turkey Webinar Series presents
Elisabeth Becker, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University College Dublin:
“From the Global to the Local: Turkish Mosques in the National Imaginary.”
In this presentation, Elisabeth Becker will draw from her years of research in European mosques in order to move away from the primacy of the European nation-state in framing debates over inclusion. Instead, she will explore the linkages between transnationality and the city, with the mosque emerging as an highly localized institutional opportunity for diasporic populaces to shape European societies. At the same time, she will analyze how the historical linkages between Turkey and the European metropole at once contribute to and constrain mosque communities as ongoing projects of negotiation in diaspora. Finally, she will think through what this means for multiple national imaginaries–those of Turkey, European nation-states, and her interlocutors who, in their border-crossing lives, grapple with transnational belonging–constituted not in isolation, but interaction and intersection in an increasingly globalized world.
Elisabeth Becker is a cultural sociologist interested in questions of inclusion and exclusion. Her research centers specifically on the experiences of Muslims and Jews in Europe and the United States. Her first book, Mosques in the Metropolis: Incivility, Caste, and Contention in Europe argues that Muslim positionality in contemporary Europe can be best understood through the concept of undercaste, rooted in notions of Muslims as uncivil. Through over 2.5 years of ethnographic research in two of Europe’s largest mosques, this book brings to bear the collective visions and resistance of Muslim communities to their associations with incivility. It also brings 20th century Jewish thinkers to bear on so-called “Muslim question,” at once echoing the once-dominant “Jewish question” and turning towards the pressing question of Europe in an unsettled post-colonial age.
Elisabeth has published in such venues as: The Journal of European Sociology, Ethnic & Racial Studies, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Social Science & Medicine, Journal of Islamic Architecture, and the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion. She also identifies as a public scholar, and has written for leading publications like the Washington Post and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.