Civil Mediations of Piety and Community

The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies is pleased to present

Civil Mediations of Piety and Community:
Secularism, Liberalism, and New Islamic Humanism in Contemporary Turkey

Featuring The Jamal Daniel Post-Doctoral Fellow for the Study of the Levant Jeremy F. Walton

In recent years, Turkey has witnessed the emergence of a diverse swath of Muslim communities, institutions, and practices. While this striking development resembles and participates in the logics of Islamic reform in other parts of the globalizing world, it equally bears a distinctive relationship to the particular genealogies and politics of secularism and Islam in Turkey. This essay, a version of the introductory chapter of my manuscript in progress, introduces the major conceptual themes and arguments that pivot on the efflorescence of Islamic civil society in Turkey. Drawing on ethnographic research and interviews with some twenty-five organizations, I argue that the intersections and mediations of Islam and liberalism in contemporary Turkish civil society have yielded a distinct form of Islamic humanism that spans otherwise intractable political and theological divides. Ethnographically, the paper focuses on three distinct groups within civil society: the Nur Community (Nur Cemaati), which focuses on the tafsir of 20th Century theologian Bediuzzaman Said Nursi; the Hizmet (Service) Movement (Hizmet Hareketi), a global pious movement based on the writings of contemporary theologian Fethullah Gülen; and Turkish Alevis, who unite the characteristic beliefs of Shi?a Islam with central Asian ritual practices and traditions.

Jeremy F. Walton is the Levant Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgetown University?s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS). Prior to coming to Georgetown, he was an Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow in New York University?s Religious Studies Program (2009-2012). He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago (2009), and is currently in

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Intercultural Center, CCAS Boardroom (241 ICC)
37th and O St., N.W., Washington

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