The Council on Middle East Studies Yale Turkey Webinar Series presents
Gulay Turkmen, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Graz:
“The Politics of Believing and Belonging: Internal Diversity among Muslims in Turkey and Muslim Immigrants in Germany.”
Via a focus on internal diversity among Muslims in Turkey and Muslim immigrants in Germany this presentation will take a stance against the attempt to cast religious traditions as uniform and draw attention to the intra-religious debates and the multiplicity of interpretations that exist in these traditions. Through in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations, it will first look at how Muslim Kurds and Turks interpret Islamic teachings differently and how their religious identity intersects with other identity markers, such as ethnicity and nationality. It will then turn its gaze to Muslim immigrants and refugees from Turkey and Syria in Germany. While we know that the arrival of large numbers of Syrian refugees has been transforming the German Muslim scene in recent years, we still know very little about “how” and “to what degree”; equally lacking is information on how existing Muslim communities experience this transformation and what kind of relations they establish (or if they do at all) with the newcomers. Inquiring into these questions, the presentation will aim to divert attention away from the debates on “integration”, especially from those that usually cast Muslim immigrants only as one side of a “conflictual” relationship between incoming populations and the receiving state or between incoming and receiving populations. As such, it will highlight inter- and intra-community dynamics among Muslim immigrants and refugees, contributing to the broader theoretical debates on “grounds for difference”
Gülay Türkmen is a sociologist and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Graz’s Center for Southeast European Studies. Her work examines how macro-scale historical, cultural and political developments inform questions of belonging and identity-formation in multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies. She is the author of Under the Banner of Islam? Turks, Kurds and the Limits of Religious Unity (OUP, 2021). She has published in several academic outlets including the Annual Review of Sociology, Qualitative Sociology, Sociological Quarterly, and Nations and Nationalism. Her research and publishing profile can be accessed here: https://www.gulayturkmen.com/.