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Islam, Gender, & Minorities in Turkey & the Middle, Introductory Topics in Middle East and North African Studies(290-3-20)


Deniz Duruiz
1800 Sherman Ave Suite 3-000

Meeting Info

Online: Mon, Wed, 5:00PM - 6:20PM

Overview of class

In the Western media, Turkey has been represented with the essentialist images and stereotypes of an exotic culture (harem, belly dancing, oil wrestling), an unstable political regime threatened by the remnants of the past (Islamism, ignorance, darkness), and the supposed oppression of women (hijab, honor killings) frequently used to describe Middle Eastern countries. Yet it has also been portrayed as a Europeanized outlier (a badge of honor claimed by most Middle Eastern countries), "a bridge between East and West" (a clich? also adopted by Eastern European countries, Russia, Iran, Singapore, and the Philippines), an exemplar of moderate Islam and multi-cultural tolerance, and once even an inspiration for the phrase "Turkish model of democracy". We will begin this class by exploring why these seemingly contrasting depictions of Turkey are in fact the two sides of the same coin, and how they conceal the colonial and national histories, political dynamics, and global economic inequalities. Drawing on ethnography, social history, and film, we will we will do comparative readings of the historical and contemporary regimes, events, and social movements in Turkey and the Middle East. Taking Turkey's "exceptional" status as a vantage point, we will explore the pressing political issues of the MENA region such as gender inequalities, the question of minorities, the effects of war, relationships with Europe as well as ideologies like feminism, nationalism, and political Islam. The aim of the course is to provide the students with an intellectual background and perspective so that they can situate their knowledge of Turkey in the broader in the Middle East, and build informed opinions about the future of this region.

Class Materials (Required)

What the West is Getting Wrong about the Middle East: Why Islam is not the Problem (all formats accepted).

Class Attributes

Social & Behavioral Sciences Distro Area
Synchronous:Class meets remotely at scheduled time