Mustafa Tuna

Turkey: Muslim and Modern

Fall 2015 Tuesday-Thursday 1:25-2:40

SES 179s, TURKISH 179s, HIS 239s

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Is Islam compatible with modernity? Can a Muslim nation be an integrated and positively contributing member of the global community? The Turkish experience provided one of the most promising responses to these questions until recently. Turkey maintained the image of a robustly growing economy and model democracy for other majority-Muslim countries, especially in the Middle East. However, rapid and dramatic events both in Turkey and in countries surrounding it changed this situation in the past four years or so. Reading the news is more difficult for Turkish citizens today than it was a few years ago. In "Turkey: Muslim and Modern," we will follow the news in order to capture the chaotic and blurry situation that emerges from Turkey's current chaotic transformation, and we will try to make sense of that chaos by studying Turkey's historical and cultural foundations. We will look into how the multiethnic and multiconfessional but Muslim-ruled Ottoman empire gave birth to a secular and Europeanized but still Muslim democracy. We will examine the complexities of the ideal of merging Islam and modernity. The course should help students in developing an understanding of Turkey's history, politics, and culture and also in starting to think about Islam's encounter with the West in an informed way. No former knowledge of Turkey or the Turkish language is required.

Take the weekly subjects as a loose guideline. Part of the learning exercise in this class will be for you to follow Turkey's current affairs. We will follow the syllabus but will also be ready to divert from it to discuss current issues or subjects that you bring up in class.

Student Reporting

News Links

2015/10/18 German Chancellor Merkel Negotiating Refugees and Turkey's Accession to EU in Turkey

2015/10/19 Bombings in Ankara - continued

2015/10/10 Bombings in Ankara

2015/09/29 Kalev Laaetaru on Forbes rejects the possibility of Civil War in Turkey based on data analysis.

2015/09/28 Turkish-Russian rapprochement: Can Putin and Erdogan agree on Syria?

2015/09/28 On Syrian Refugees in Turkey and Why They Leave

2015/09/27 Syrian Refugee Crisis Map and Explanation

2015/09/15 News Magazine Critical of President Raided

2015/09/15 Turkey's Place on 2015 World Press Freedom Index

2015/09/15 International Press Institute on Pro-Erdogan Mob Attacks on Hurriyet

2015/09/15 On Syrian Refugees in Turkey

2015/09/14 Turkish Lira Hits Record Low

2015/09/08 On escalating tensions in the Southeast and the November 1st election

2015/09/07 BBC on PKK Attack on Turkish Soldiers and Mob Attack on Non-Pro-Government Newspaper

2015/09/02 BBC on Rising Tensions in Turkey / PKK / Upcoming Elections

2015/09/03 Turkish President Erdogan Calls on Europe to be More Sensitive about Migrants

2015/09/03 UK Journalists Released, Fixer Remains in Custody

2015/09/01 UK Journalists arrested in Southeast Turkey for "Terror Offences"

2015/09/01 Police raids media group following reports on aid to "ISIL"

2015/08/27 Former US Ambassador to Turkey on Turkish-American Relations in the Context of Middle East Politics

2015/08/26 Huffington Post on election polls leading to renewed elections in November

2015/08/12 BBC on the entangled fight between Turkey, PKK, IS, etc.