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Islamism and Urban Politics
In this panel, Utku Balaban discusses the relationship between postwar urban growth and Islamic revivalism in Turkey. Rather than in a distant past dating back to the nineteenth century, the roots of the decades-long political success of Turkish Islamism lie in the growth of new working-class neighborhoods in the outskirts of metropolitan areas after the 1980s. Focusing on Istanbul, Balaban argues, Islamic revivalism in Turkey is an outcome of the vertical redevelopment of single-story slums into multistory buildings and the ensuing mushrooming of small industrial facilities in working-class neighborhoods in the 1980s. This alliance redefined Turkish Islamism as a cosmology to regulate the everyday life practices of urban workers and reframed the conflict-ridden relationship between this new middle class and their urban workers as a religious fraternity based on a common urban culture. Turkish Islamism is not old and provincial, but new and urban. After Balaban’s presentation, Pamela Karimi and Ijlal Muzaffar will respond from the perspectives of their own research in Tehran and Karachi. Presented in a meeting format to allow for open dialog and Q & A between the speakers and participants.

Utku Balaban | Amherst College

Reponse By:
Pamela Kimini | UMass Dartmouth
Ijlal Muzaffar | Rhode Island School of Design

Moderated by Esra Akcan | Cornell University

This panel is organized as part of the Institute for European Studies’ Migration Series for its AY 2020-21 theme Repair and Reparations and sponsored by the MESA Global Academy. You may find information about past events and video recordings at

Apr 30, 2021 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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