Category: Turkey


Ani Sarkissian on Politics & Religious Civil Society in Turkey (Encore Presentation)

In light of the interesting political developments in Turkey this past year, we dip into our archives to feature an encore presentation with Prof. Ani Sarkissian discussing the relationship between religious civil society and politics in Turkey.

More new episodes on the way.

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Eileen Kane on the Russian Hajj

As industrialization progressed in the 19th century and railroads became more commonplace, the costs of making the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) became more affordable for the large number of Muslims who lived in Russian territory. Prof. Eileen Kane, a historian at Connecticut College, discusses how the Russians tsars and the Soviets managed the pilgrimage routes to facilitate their geo-political and economic goals, and how Muslims in turn reacted. This story has heretofore gone untold but reveals a great deal about religion and politics, not only in centuries gone by, but for our contemporary world as well.

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Paul Kubicek on Islam, Political Islam, and Democracy

Can democratic governance on a national scale coincide with Islam? Prof. Paul Kubicek (Oakland University) takes us on a comparative journey to show where predominately Islamic populations have existed successfully with democracy. While much of media and scholarly attention on the topic of Islam and democracy has focused on the Middle East, Paul discusses the interesting cases of Turkey, Senegal, Mali, and Tunisia, while also noting some of the difficulties in democratic transitions in places such as Bangladesh. He also shares his reflections on the Arab Spring.

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John Owen IV on Confronting Political Islam, Historical Lessons

As ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other radical forms of political Islam take center stage in the news and policy circles, can we learn anything about the broad-based movement known as Islamism from the history of Europe? Prof. John Owen IV discusses how the West has dealt with its own radical ideological struggles and the parallels we can draw to the present situation in the Middle East and North Africa. Does a Scottish rebellion in the 1560s have anything worth informing us about the Taliban? Find out!

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Ani Sarkissian on Politics and Religious Civil Society in Turkey

With Turkey playing a pivotal role in the Middle East, and a country that is often viewed as a model for democracy in the Islamic world, we take a look at this country’s history, politics, and civil society with Prof. Ani Sarkissian of Michigan State University. Are liberalizing reforms that are designed to make it easier to create civic associations having their intended effect? Or is there something to Turkey’s history and political structure that are creating some unintended consequences?

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Carolyn Warner on Religion & Generosity

Why and how do religious groups motivate generosity? We visit with Prof. Carolyn Warner (ASU) who is involved in a multi-national, cross-faith, and interdisciplinary investigation exploring why religious individuals give money and volunteer time to help others. As part of a larger team of scholars, she has conducted interviews with Catholics and Muslims in France, Ireland, Italy, and Turkey using both person-to-person interviews and an experimental design to see if there are differences across these to faith traditions. She and her team discover that Catholics tend to be motivated by “love of God” whereas Muslims are moved to give out of a “duty to God.” This sheds light on whether organizations need to provide close monitoring and sanctioning of volunteer behavior or whether individuals can be counted to be generous on their own.

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Matthew Derrick on the Geography of the Umma

The notion of “the umma” — the community of Islamic believers — is often thought to be at odds with modern (post-Westphalian) notions of national territory. Islam, it is said, transcends the geographic boundaries of the nation-state and this may present unique problems for how societies understand and interact with one another. Prof. Matthew Derrick discusses the role of territory in history and how the umma fits into this, taking on scholars such as Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis who see a disjuncture between the umma and national territory. Prof. Derrick, a geographer, argues that territory is still important and often trumps transnational religious identity, or is at least a concept that cannot be discarded so easily.

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Monica Toft on Religion, Terrorism, and Civil War

A week before the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Prof. Monica Toft of Harvard University joins us to discuss what we have learned about religiously-motivated violence over the past decade. She discusses findings from her new book “God’s Century” on terrorism, informal violence, and civil war. Our conversation covers a wide range of geographic territory and faith traditions, touching upon the IRA in Ireland, Hindu nationalism in India, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, as well as movements in the Arab Middle East.

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Daniel Philpott on Religious Resurgence & Democratization

Is the global resurgence in public religiosity over the past 40 years linked in any way to the increase in democratic governance over the same period of time? Prof. Dan Philpott (Notre Dame) covers the historical trends of church-state relations and discusses how changes in political theologies and the increasing independence of religious organizations have provided a fertile ground for political democratization in some corners of the world. We examine how and why some religious traditions have been involved in promoting democracy under authoritarian conditions. Our discussion turns toward some speculation about the future of the “Arab Spring” at the end of our interview. This is the first part of a discussion of the book “God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics.”

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Ahmet Kuru on Islam in Europe

Prof. Ahmet Kuru of San Diego State Univeristy joins Research on Religion to discuss the increasing presence of Islam in Europe and how various European nations are accomodating Muslim immigration. We address the contemporary origins of this immigration and how countries such as Great Britain, Germany and Frane have had different responses to integrating Muslims into their political and cultural arenas. We cover the recent ban in the hijab (Muslim headscarf) in France and also talk about how the US response to Muslim immigrants differs than Europe. Prof. Kuru introduces us to his concepts of assertive and passive secularism.

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