What do the Europeans think of Turks

06.06.2008 09:21

Are Turks Europeans? Prof. Bülent Senay is Bayreuth's William James visiting professor

Jürgen Abel M. A. Press office
University of Bayreuth

The Turkish historian of religion Professor Dr. Bülent Senay on June 9th at the start of his lectures on Islam, Identity and Public Space in Modern Turkey: Are Turks Europeans? Prof. Senay is the third lecturer to join the Faculty of Cultural Studies at the University of Bayreuth as part of the William James Visiting Professorship.

Bayreuth (UBT). Dr. Bülent Senay, Professor of Religious History at Uluda? University in Bursa, Turkey, and Counselor for Religious Affairs (The Hague, Netherlands) is the next William James visiting professor at the religious scholars in the summer semester. The focus of the public lectures from 9.-13. June, (10 a.m.-12 noon) is the topic of "Islam, Identity and Public Space in Modern Turkey". The afternoon lecture is supplemented by a closed colloquium. His opening lecture on Monday (June 9, 2008, 6.15 p.m., followed by a reception; H33, Applied Computer Science Building) picks up a hot political issue: Are Turks Europeans?
The guest writes about his opening lecture: "The current debate about the question of whether Turkey belongs to Europe is also controversial in Turkey itself. The focus is on the extent to which Turkey's cultural identity is based on religion, ie through Islam Thousands of visitors from non-Muslim countries come to Turkey every year. They experience the beauties of the landscapes and the civilizations of Asia Minor, but they are also amazed at the omnipresent presence of mosques and calls to prayer, those completely veiled women next to those dressed in American or European fashion, and those bearded men with skullcaps next to those dressed like international financial brokers, visitors understandably wonder how the two fit together in one country and what is going on here.
In the lecture the current Turkish-Muslim identity is seen as an openwork and hybrid one. The cultural identity of Turkey is read as a 'hybrid text'. Such seemingly contradicting traits are not only evident in the present. Rather, the hybridity can already be localized in the complex, rich history of Turkey, which is characterized by diverse cultural influences and breaks.
In today's Turkish identity, in addition to highly modern components, the "raw" features that refuse the civilizing achievements of modernity live on in a hybrid connection. The lecture therefore looks for dynamic definitions of Turkish identity in an exemplary analysis of different cultural, religious and other stratifications. Special attention will have to be paid to how culture and cultural attitudes in Turkey have been and will continue to be influenced by religion with regard to the emergence of modern, "globalized" identity.
Prof. Dr. Bülent? Enay is the third lecturer to join the Faculty of Cultural Studies at the University of Bayreuth as part of the William James Visiting Professorship. Until the end of 2007 he taught history of religion at Uluda? University in Bursa / Turkey, which is connected to the University of Bayreuth by an Erasmus agreement. Since then he has been working as an attaché for religious affairs in Turkey in the Netherlands. The lecture and the courses will be held in English.

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History / archeology, society, philosophy / ethics, religion
Study and teaching