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.
2015/10/19 Bombings in Ankara - continued
2015/10/10 Bombings in Ankara
2015/09/27 Syrian Refugee Crisis Map and Explanation
2015/09/15 News Magazine Critical of President Raided
2015/09/15 On Syrian Refugees in Turkey
2015/09/14 Turkish Lira Hits Record Low