Elazar Barkan and Karen Barkey (eds.) (2014) Choreograhies of Shared Sacred Sites: Religion, Politics, and Conflict Resolution, Columbia University press.

Reviewed by Associate Prof. Dr. Sezai Özçelik (Çankırı Karatekin University, TURKEY)

This book is an interdisciplinary contribution involving international relations, history, anthropology, architecture, geography, urban studies, regional studies, and political science. It can be used for scientific research purpose, but it also enables non-academic people to gain a deeper understanding of many archaeological and ethnographic 9780231169943historical sites not only in the post-Ottoman Empire but also in other parts of the world such as the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh in India, the Catholic Church and Inka shrine in Cuzco, Peru, and the mosque and church in Mertola, Portugal.

This edited book also makes an important contribution about religious conflicts by employing different conceptual frameworks and theoretical approaches. For example, the last chapter of the book introduces Hayden’s theoretical model of “antagonistic tolerance” that can be used for the study of shared and contested religious sites. The model emphasizes a negative definition of tolerance and is applied to the settings where communities that identify themselves and each other as Self and Other live side by side for many generations but refuse to marry each other. When political hierarchy/dominance is clear between two communities, there is a possibility of peaceful co-existence. But in the absence (or demise of) political control, violence occurs and leads to the transformation of religious sites. Besides, the book uses such concepts as “religioscapes”, “secularscapes”, “competitive sharing”, “cultural fusion which can help to provide the basis for future inter-disciplinary scientific research.

The book is divided into two main sections. In the first section (consisting of the Introduction and Chapter 1) provides a strong conceptual and theoretical framework in addition to a summary of the methodological approach employed in the book. The second main section is mostly devoted to case studies that are accumulated into three different streams. The first stream (Chapters 2, 3 and 4) focuses on Cyprus, Bosnia and Algeria. The second stream (Chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8) includes four case studies from Palestine/Israel. The third stream (Chapter 9 and 10) is about dispute resolution and museumification.

This book deals with conflict resolution in general but puts an emphasis on cultural studies of conflict resolution in particular. The book makes some important contributions on politics of space and the conceptualization of the shared sacred sites. However, some important conflict resolution terminology and theories are overlooked. For example, some of the articles could have introduced the basic concepts of conflict resolution such as structural violence, escalation, hurting stalemate, chosen trauma, psycho-historical approaches and so on. Second, the book is generally based on the assumption that the legacy of the Ottoman Empire about sacred sites was ‘peaceful co-existence’. It may be true for inter-religious relations, especially in the case for the sacred sites of non-Muslim communities in the Ottoman Empire. But it is questionable when it comes to intra-religious relations, especially Sunni-Alevi relations in the Ottoman Empire. Most Alevi-Bektaşi and “heterodox Islam” members in Turkey have faced injustice and unfair treatment from the Sunni Ottomans. Although the book includes a chapter about the “museumification” of two important Alevi-Bektaşi sacred sites and their “dynamic secularization”, the first chapter by Karen Barkey could have better treated this intra-religious intolerance. Third, although the book is very rich in terms of new conceptual and theoretical tools, it could have benefited from alternative research methods such as surveys to measure attitudes, behaviours, and perceptions about sacred sites. In particular, religious communities and museum visitors could have been asked about how they perceive the selected sacred sites and how they understand such concepts as sharing, co-existence, indivisibility, centrality, vulnerability, malleability, heterodox, religioscapes, secularscapes and so on. Fourth, in the outline of the book, Anatolia is included as one of the comparative case studies (see the heading of the stream 1: ‘Comparisons: Cyprus/Bosnia/Anatolia/Algiers’).Yet, in that stream, there was no specific case study about Anatolia. While investigating the shared sacred sites in the post-Ottoman territories the book limits its focus to the case study of museum. Moreover, the case studies are heavily chosen from the case of Palestine/Israel conflict. The chapter about the Museum of Tolerance can be categorized as dispute resolution not conflict resolution since it mostly offers analyses from a legalistic perspective.

After reading this edited book, students of conflict resolution can more easily understand and explain tolerance, coexistence, and antagonistic tolerance. Also scholars of conflict resolution can use some chapters as theoretical and conceptual foundation for an inter-disciplinary course. This is an innovative work because it introduces new conceptualization and theorization of boundaries, spaces, identities, toleration and tolerance, and coexistence. Also, it offers an optimistic account about conflict resolution in respect to shared sacred sites because the authors believe that identities and boundaries are not fixed. So, there is a possibility of change that is hopefully towards more tolerance, coexistence and nonviolence.

This book is strongly recommended for both current and past students of anthropology, ethnography, cultural studies, religious studies, political science, conflict resolution and peace studies. It definitely is a major addition to the anthropo-conflict literature and opens new doors for future scholars and practitioners. I also recommend for Ph.D. students who have been searching for a dissertation topic. This book enriches your conceptual and theoretical framework for possible topics. I assume that there is no conclusion at the end of the book because there can/will be more editions of this book, including new research about the post-Ottoman territories. In the future editions and studies that complement this book, there can be more chapters about Turkey. Istanbul or Constantinople is a religioscape that has important sacred sites for the Orthodox Christianity and different Patriarchates. Since there are already two Turkish museums studied in the context of ‘secularizing the unsecularizable’ (Chapter 10), there may be no need to include the Hagia Sophia museum. But Istanbul can be a highly popular case study. Also, intra-religious tolerance, co-existence, sharing and boundaries can be studied within the Islamic context. However, the current violence–ridden and conflict-prone atmosphere of the Middle East may hinder the employment of on-site anthropological and historical methods. If there is a methodological chapter about historical methods, more scholars can apply the book’s conceptual and analytical framework into different case studies. Also, there may be more micro analysis to emphasize the diversity within particular identities so that diachronic and synchronic analyses could be included.

It should be noted that there has not been much scientific studies about sacred sites in the post-Ottoman territories in Turkey. The existing studies are mostly about the history of ‘sacred sites’ problem during the Crimean War of 1853-1856. Therefore, this study is a great contribution in this area. I recommend that this book should be translated into Turkish as the authors are filling a very important gap about this subject in Turkey. Ending with personal notes, the book personally touches me since it mentions places I have been to, such as Konya where I was born; Seyitgazi that is located near my father’s village, and Cyprus where I did my military service. Therefore, I believe that many people can easily find something for themselves in this book.

Date: 27 March 2015 Friday   Venue: University of Warwick


Panel 1: Turkey: Politics, History, Economy & Society

Dr Bilge Eris Dereli (Warwick & Marmara)—  Why Do Women Prefer Part-Time Employment in Turkey?

Dr Ömer Tekdemir (Coventry)—  Agonising Democracy: Mobilising Passion to Construct a “Collective Will” by Turkey’s Radical Democrat HDP

Dr S. Baris Gulmez (Warwick)—  The Paradox of Turkish Foreign Policy in the 1930s: Revisionism and Irredentism through Multilateral Diplomacy

Dr Zenonas Tziarras (Nicosia) —  Domestic Transformations and Foreign Policy Change: The Rise of Revisionist Turkey” (via Skype)

Panel 2: Beyond Turkey: Middle East, Mediterranean, Thrace & Black Sea

Dr Özge Dilaver (Surrey & BIAA)—  Between Here and Almost There, Understanding Border Impermeability through Life Stories

Cem Boke (Birmingham)— US intervention in intra-state conflicts: Libya and Syria

Ferhun Kahraman (Oxford Brookes)— Consociational Democracy, Judiciary and the Cyprus Precedent

Dr Didem Buhari-Gulmez (LSE)— Crimean Tatar nationalist movement and top-down Islamization


ChangingTurkey.com is currently looking for an academic book reviewer for “The Making of a Postsecular Society: A Durkheimian Approach to Memory, Pluralism and Religion in Turkey” by Massimo Rosati  (Ashgate, 2015). PhD candidates and academics working on related themes are warmly welcome to send their CV by  20 March 2015 to ChangingTurkey@gmail.com

We require a maximum 1000 word-long review which explains the main contributions of the book to the state-of-the-art. We strongly encourage book reviews that put forward constructive criticisms about the book’s main arguments, some important issues that the book may have neglected, the dialogue (or lack thereof) between individual book chapters, and so on. 

Information about the book

  • Drawing on the thought of Durkheim, this volume focuses on societal changes at the symbolic level to develop a PPCspine22mmnew conceptualisation of the emergence of postsecular societies. Neo-Durkheimian categories are applied to the case of Turkey, which in recent years has shifted from a strong Republican and Kemalist view of secularism to a more Anglo-Saxon perspective. Turkish society thus constitutes an interesting case that blurs modernist distinctions between the secular and the religious and which could be described as ‘postsecular’.

    Presenting three symbolic case studies – the enduring image of the founder of the Republic Atatürk, the contested site of Ayasofia, and the remembering and commemoration of the murdered journalist Hrant Dink – The Making of a Postsecular Society analyses the cultural relationship that the modern Republic has always had with Europe, considering the possible implications of the Turkish model of secularism for a specifically European self-understanding of modernity.

    Based on a rigorous construction of theoretical categories and on a close scrutiny of the common challenges confronting Europe and its Turkish neighbour long considered ‘other’ with regard to the accommodation of religious difference, this book sheds light on the possibilities for Europe to find new ways of arranging the relationship between the secular and the religious. As such, it will appeal to scholars of social theory, the sociology of religion, secularisation and religious difference, and social change.

  • Contents: Foreword, Alessandro Ferrara; Preface; Introduction: new centres, new stories. Part I A Sociological Theory of Postsecular Society: Centre and periphery: social symbolic morphology; Clarifying the postsecular: a sociological reading; Postsecular sanctuaries and the centre: the sacredness of sacred places; Memory, trauma and the work of rituals: the dynamics of symbols. Part II The Turkish Laboratory: Centre and periphery in the history of Republican Turkey: a symbolic analysis; From a secular to a postsecular and post-Kemalist Turkey? The neo-Ottoman (democratic) narrative and the reconstruction of the Turkish central value system; Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: an old symbol in transformation; Turning religious differences into a museum: Aya Sofya; When the water finds its crack: Hrant Dink at the crossroads of contemporary Turkey; Modernities and religions: the four quadrant model; Conclusion: Habap and the water that came from heaven; Appendix: Durkheim in Turkey; References; Index.

Workshop title: INTERDISCIPLINARY INVESTIGATIONS: TURKEY AND BEYOND Date: 27 March 2015  –from 12 to 6pm. Venue:  University of Warwick (Coventry, United Kingdom) This one-day workshop will provide an encouraging atmosphere to PhD students and post-doctoral scholars. We warmly invite researchers from different disciplines, including Economics, Sociology, Picture1Anthropology, Political science, and International Relations. This workshop is about communicating your own research to a broader audience that transcends your discipline. During the workshop, all researchers will have the opportunity to get familiar with the ongoing research projects as well as introduce their research questions, methodological and theoretical approaches to an interdisciplinary audience. This workshop is free and open to all researchers who would like to present their research. Interested in joining us? Please send your short abstract (around 100 words) and your CV to: ChangingTurkey@gmail.com We will accept proposals until 20 March 2015.   Organized by Dr S. Baris Gulmez (University of Warwick) and Dr Didem Buhari-Gulmez (LSE)

Özlem Kayhan Pusane (Işık University, İstanbul, Turkey)

Özlem Kayhan Pusane graduated from the Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey) in 2002 with a B.Sc. degree in International Relations. She received her M.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Turkish_StudiesNotre Dame, IN, USA in 2004, where she also received her Ph.D. degree in Political Science in 2009. She is currently an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Işık University. Her research and teaching interests lie in the areas of security studies, civil-military relations, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and foreign policy analysis.


Changing Turkey: Could you inform our readers about your recent and forthcoming publications? What are the main arguments that you defend in your recent works?

I have been working on two major lines of research, namely the PKK and the Kurdish question within the framework of counterinsurgency scholarship and foreign policy analysis. I published a piece about the 2009 Kurdish Opening in the Spring 2014 issue of the Turkish Studies, where I discussed some of the major reasons why the government’s Kurdish opening policy did not go as planned in 2009. In this article, I argued that an important reason why the Kurdish opening could not lead to the desired policy outcomes in 2009 was that both the Turkish state and the PKK were not able to act as unified actors in this process. I also have a recent article in Uluslararası İlişkiler [International Relations], which is published in Turkish. In my article titled “Türkiye’nin Kürt Sorunu: Arap Baharı ile Değişen Yurt içi ve Bölgesel Dinamikler” [Turkey’s Kurdish Question: Changing Domestic and Regional Dynamics Through the Arab Spring], I presented an assessment about how the Arab Spring had an impact on the Kurdish question mainly within the context of the PKK’s decision making processes.

My forthcoming article titled “Turkey’s Military Victory over the PKK and Its Failure to end the PKK Insurgency” is actually part of a comparative study on counterinsurgency, which was funded by a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant between 2010 and 2014. The paper explores the reasons why Turkey could not end the PKK insurgency although it significantly weakened the organization by the late 1990s.

In addition to my studies on the Kurdish question, foreign policy analysis is a newly emerging research interest for me. In connection to a new research project funded by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), I am now working on understanding the role of individual leadership in Turkey’s foreign policy change towards northern Iraq. With this research project, I am trying to expand my research and teaching interests towards the foreign policy dimension of security.

Changing Turkey: What are the potential limitations of the existing analyses on Turkish politics and society, in your opinion?

I believe that the limitations of the existing analyses are mostly methodological. We need to take advantage of the various qualitative and quantitative research methods more, which will help us develop a better understanding of Turkish domestic and foreign policy. We also need to do a better job of studying Turkey in comparative perspective.

Changing Turkey: Could you suggest any valuable books or articles about Turkish society and politics? Is there anything you would like to add?

It is hard to make specific suggestions since there have been an increasing number of interesting publications about Turkish society, domestic politics, and foreign policy in recent years. However, in my area of research, I highly recommend Metin Heper’s book The State and Kurds in Turkey: The Question of Assimilation, Cengiz Çandar’s TESEV Report titled ‘Leaving the Mountain: How May the PKK Lay Down Arms? Freeing the Kurdish Question from Violence, Ayşe Gül Altınay’s The Myth of the Military-Nation: Militarism, Gender, and Education in Turkey, and the 2011 Special Issue of Turkish Studies on Civil-Military Relations in Turkey.

Excerpt from Stefano Allievi (2009) Conflicts over Mosques in Europe: Policy issues and trends – NEF Initiative on Religion and Democracy in Europe, Network of European Foundations, p.11.

Islam and Europe: stages of approximation

Phase 1: Islam and Europe A long first stage, lasting for at least the first ten centuries of the history of Islam, was one of major conflicts (analysed as such, however, only at a later date), symbolized by the Crusades, which saw Islam and (Christian) Europe facing one another, conceived and perceived as mutually impenetrable and self‑referencing. All this was in spite of reality and history, which show how permeability and exchange (of philosophical ideas, scientific concepts, and artistic forms, as well as economic and trading links) were more the norm than the exception.

Phase 2: Europe in Islam In the second phase, we see European dominance of Islamic lands (the most powerfulconflictfront symbolic moment of this was the Napoleonic expedition to Egypt in 1798). First, in the age of empires and the colonial period, Europe dominated Muslim countries directly. Later, during the ongoing stage of neo‑ or post‑colonial influence ‘at a distance’ – through economic globalization, the pervasiveness of the mass media and western consumption patterns – Europe has gradually brought the Muslim world within transnational economic trends and political institutions.

Phase 3: Islam in Europe In a third, more recent phase, Islam began to spread in Europe through migration. This began in France, for example, between the two world wars, and in most European countries during the period of postwar reconstruction and economic boom – in the 1950s and 1960s in the centre and north, and later still, from the late 1970s onwards, in southern Europe. It is still a phase characterized mainly by first‑generation immigrants coming from former colonies (from Algeria to France, for instance, and from the Indian subcontinent to Great Britain), but there are also new forms of immigration (such as Turks coming to Germany), which gradually expand as more and more countries export labour in response to European demand.

Phase 4: the Islam of Europe In a fourth phase we observe the emergence and consolidation of an Islam of Europe, through a gradual process of insertion, manifested in the processes of integration – initially in the workplace, then in a social and sometimes political context – and of generational transition. Together, these contribute to the formation of a middle class and an intelligentsia of Islamic origin: one that still has relations with the countries of origin, but which does not come from outside, and is born and socialized in Europe – self‑formed and forced or encouraged to build its own identity and its own space.

Phase 5: European Islam The result of this process should be the formation of a genuine European Islam, with its own pronounced identity different from that of Arabic Islam or that of other countries and cultural areas of origin. This Islam is (and even more in the future will be seen to be) a native European movement, largely the result of a gradual and substantial process of ‘citizenization’ of Muslims residing in Europe, who look forward to the prospect of full rights on an equal footing with other Europeans, with whom they share a common destiny. Of this phase, for now just given in outline, one cannot say much, except that its outcome will depend on the internal evolution of Muslim communities and their populations; on the dynamics of global Islam; and, perhaps most importantly, on the reactions and policies adopted towards them by the governments of individual European countries, which will in turn be influenced by their political parties and public opinion. In a word, the outcome will depend largely on non‑Muslims, on the manner in which they approach the problem, on discussions of the issue, and on the fears and visions of the wider world.

Today, most European countries find themselves somewhere between the third and fourth phases, although there are some hints of the beginning of the fifth phase, which will become more visible in the years and decades to come… Like all social phenomena, these cannot be generalized, and show elements of complexity, contradiction and ambiguity.

GSA Annual Conference 2015

Living the Global: the cultural experience of globalization

Roehampton University, Thurs 2nd – Sat 4th July 2015


Keynote speakers:

Ian Woodward (Griffith University, Brisbane), author of Cosmopolitanism: Uses of the Idea

Nick Stevenson (Nottingham), author of Cultural Citizenship: Cosmopolitan Questions.

Call for papers:

‘Living the global’ aims to explore an under-researched aspect of globalization; how people experience it. The human experience of globalization requires closer attention to everyday practices, subject-object relationships, and aesthetics (among other things) that can reveal the different ways in which people respond to, negotiate, and attempt to harness global processes. Of central importance are questions such as: how and where are these different experiences of globalization revealed? How are different experiences expressed/represented?

We know that global processes do not impact on all people in the same way and can lead to different outcomes for different people. In short, the same process can result in different experiences of globalization. Bauman talks of ‘Globalization for some, localization for some’, but this formulation risks obscuring how this duality works in tandem in all spaces; others talk about ‘glocalization’, the intertwining of the global and local, for example, while yet others see globalization as being ‘in here’ as well as just ‘out there’.

The key to understanding all this, it is suggested, is developing a more nuanced perspective on the human experience of globalization and how this is manifested in culture, politics, media and society. We are interested in finding out how people accommodate themselves to ‘living the global’ but also how they may drive it too, under certain conditions. ‘Living the global’ intends to address these areas of human creativity in the context of global processes and explore the connections and disjunctures between experiences.

We are particularly interested in receiving proposals for papers in the following areas;   download

– Representations of glocalization (in film, literature etc.)

– ‘Bottom up’ accounts of global processes

– Mapping ‘global journeys’ and the centrality of mobility to the experience of globalization

– Encounters with ‘global things’, either as commodities or as empowering objects

– Transnational migration and migrant identities

– Experiencing hybridity and/or difference

– Tourism and cultural encounters

– Digital diasporas

– Memorializing cultural encounters: the role of museums and heritage studies51343_9781849200646

– The rise of the interplanetary: leaving the global behind?

– The border as global portal: connectivity and transnationalism

– ‘Living the global city’: urban encounters

– Cosmopolitanism as a particular experience of globalization

Proposals for papers should take the form of a 300 word abstract and may be submitted on any aspect of the conference theme. The organisers will allocate papers to an appropriate panel.

The deadline for submission of abstracts (300 words) is April 30, 2015.

Please send to conference organizer Chris Rumford at chris.rumford@rhul.ac.uk


Conference registration:

Costs: Full registration £245 (includes accommodation, lunch and other refreshments, and conference fee).  Discounted student registration £170.

Standard registration (no-accommodation) £175. Discounted student rate £130.

Conference dinner is £40 extra for all delegates. Registration includes automatic GSA membership.

Please follow this link to register for the conference: http://estore.roehampton.ac.uk/​



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