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Islam in the Turkish Republic: The Discourse and Praxis of Islamic Modernism

March 30, 2015 from 12:15pm-2:00pm EST
CCAS Boardroom (ICC 241), Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Speaker: Asst. Prof. Philip Dorroll, Wofford College


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Islam in modern Turkey is usually discussed in the context of a supposed cultural dichotomy between Islam and social progressivism (frequently glossed as a never-ending struggle between "Islamists" and "Secularists"). This presentation, however, will discuss how this dichotomous characterization of Islam in Turkey obscures the close interaction of social progressivism and Islamic thought since the beginning of the Turkish Republic. This talk will shed light on the history of Islamic Modernism in modern Turkey, an Islamic theological movement that since the late 19th century has argued for progressive social change and reform. It will discuss how some of the basic tenets of Islamic theological modernism have helped shape Islamic praxis in the Turkish Republic, and how the discursive framework of Islamic modernism has helped lay the groundwork for a wide variety of Islamic discourses since the early 1920s.

Dr. Phil Dorroll is currently an assistant professor of religion at Wofford College, where he teaches courses in religious studies and Islamic studies. He received his Ph.D. in Religion, with a focus on Islamic Studies, from Emory University. He received his MA in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from Indiana University, and his BA in Religious Studies from Purdue University. His areas of research interest include the history of Islam in modern Turkey, theories of gender and secularism in modern Turkey, the history of Islamic theology, and Near Eastern Christian communities.

A Light Lunch will be served.

RSVP: pdorroll.eventbrite.com