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by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary & TIRN, on MARCH 21, 2015: 

Wishing those who celebrate it a Happy Nowruz (Nowruz Mobarak) from the Silk Roads, to Iran, to the US and in between! CLICK HERE for a compilation on Nowruz, from the celebratory to the politicaL

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via TAYLOR & FRANCIS ONLINE on MARCH 8, 2015: 

Sunday 8th March 2015 is International Women’s Day (IWD). To mark the occasion, Routledge are delighted to offer you free online access to a wide range of articles exploring the role women play in a variety of industries. With access to over 200 articles, we know what you’ll be doing this IWD!

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“Our field is a cautionary tale on the dangers of linking independent academic research to military intelligence.” — Sarah Kendzior

by SARAH KENDZIOR for SARAH KENDZIOR blog on MARCH 8, 2015: 

Sarah Kendzior
Sarah Kendzior

Yesterday I gave the keynote speech at the 22nd conference of the  Association of Central Eurasian Students at Indiana University. I am an alumnus of the Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS) program at IU so it was exciting to get to talk to the next generation, even though I may have traumatized them with this talk. Below, the text of my speech:

As you may already know, I am a CEUS alumnus, and I look back at my time here mostly with appreciation.  While I was here, of course, I complained about CEUS with everyone else, even coining the phrase “afCEUSki” to describe it – that’s a joke for the Uzbek specialists in the room — but the truth is there is tremendous value in area studies programs, particularly programs that emphasize languages and history in the way CEUS does.

You never know how much you appreciate CEUS until you’re out in the real world answering questions like “Where is Central Asia?” with “It’s in the center of Asia”. So it’s great to be talking with young scholars who know beyond the basics and are interested in the future of the field. Continue reading

by ELLIOT BAZZANO for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on JANUARY 23, 2015:

Isra Yazicioglu
Isra Yazicioglu

In Understanding Qur’anic Miracle Stories in the Modern Age (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013), Isra Yazicioglu draws connections between an array of scholars, from different time periods and cultures, in order to make sense of miracles and miracle stories in the Qur’an. What are miracles? Why do they occur in stories? And how does the Qur’an define this complicated concept in particular ways? To address these questions and others Professor Yazicioglu gives particular 61xGQRlXn4L._SL160_attention to Ghazali (d. 1111), Ibn Rushd (d. 1198), David Hume (d. 1776), Charles Peirce (d. 1914), and Said Nursi (d. 1960), which makes for a rich and multilayered investigation into the limits and possibilities of science, epistemology, and scriptural hermeneutics.

In our interview we also discuss Professor Yazicioglu’s intellectual background as a biologist in secular Turkey, turned scholar of religion and how her own social context has influenced and challenged her scholarly pursuits. Yazicioglu’s compelling and well-researched monograph will likely interest not only scholars of Islam and the Qur’an, but also philosophers as well as natural scientists.  Continue reading

View of Levent from the Bosphorous, Summer 2012. (photo courtesy Sibel Bozdoğan) Levent is one of the main business districts of Istanbul, located on the European side of the city.
View of Levent from the Bosphorous, Summer 2012. (photo courtesy Sibel Bozdoğan) Levent is one of the main business districts of Istanbul, located on the European side of the city.

“Istanbul is the economic, cultural, and historical heart of Turkey, and the only city in the world located on two continents. Between 1453 and 1922, Istanbul was the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, which extended into southeastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. Until 1924, it was the seat of the last Islamic caliphate. Due to its extensive history, Istanbul has been called a “palimpsest city,”bearing the remains of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. During an era of Middle Eastern nationalism, Istanbul became a peripheral urban center, and only regained its position as a world city at the turn of the twenty-first century. Today, it is one of the top-ten tourist destinations in the world. In 2010, Istanbul was named European Capital of Culture.  In 2013, there were violent anti-government protests in the city, which targeted massive urban renewal projects and the conservative, neoliberal order embraced by the ruling AK Party.” — Rethinking Global Cities, Duke University, 2014

“Money, capital, labor has no religion, nation, race or country. Money is like mercury. It flows wherever it finds a suitable channel, a secure ground for itself. If you can prepare this ground, it will come to you; otherwise it will flow somewhere else. We are determined to prepare this ground.” — Prime Minister Erdoğan, speech at G-20 summit, 2009

by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary on FEBRUARY 4, 2015: 

UnknownIn the past decade, Istanbul has undergone an immense political and economic transformation, making it “an ideal site to study the contradictory forces that come together to produce urban spaces,” says Duke University Turkish Studies professor Erdag Göknar.

Göknar is principal investigator of a year-long Rethinking Global Cities project at Duke, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, that is investigating the complex, hybrid and contested cultural and human geographies of the following world cities — Bangkok, Beijing, Bogota, Cairo, Cape Town, Dubai, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Mumbai, Tokyo and Vienna — in the context of national and global politics. (The centerpiece of this project is a conference this week, with the Febuary 5 keynote on “Virtual Uprisings: Tahrir Square” by Nezar Al Sayyad, Professor of Architecture, Design, Urban Planning & Urban History, UC Berkeley.)

As part of this project, Göknar invited Sibel Bozdoğan — a lecturer in Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Architecture at Kadir Has University in Turkey — to speak at Duke this past December.

Bozdoğan’s research, at the intersection of Turkish politics and urban renewal, examines the ways in which ideology shapes and is shaped by urban form and analyzes the tensions between state power and city space. Her work spans cross-cultural histories of modern architecture and urbanism in Europe, America, the Mediterranean and the Middle East with a specialization on Turkey.

On December 4 she addressed a Duke lecture hall packed with architecture, design, Turkish studies and Middle East scholars on the timely, if controversial, topic — “Urban Development as Politics of Performance: Istanbul’s Transformation under the AKP.”

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