Contemporary Turkey in Context: Culture, Power, and History

Humanities Seminars Course

Contemporary Turkey in Context: Culture, Power, and History

Associate Professor Brian Silverstein School of Anthropology
Past Course
FRIDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. January 27 to April 7, 2017. No class on March 17.
Dorothy Rubel Room



Turkey, one of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority countries, is a member of NATO and has tried to enter the European Union for over ten years. Since 2002 the country has undergone rapid and profound changes under the rule of the Justice and Development Party and its leader Tayyip Erdogan. These changes include a growth-oriented economy, massive infrastructural investment, softening of the country’s secularist ideology, a transformed foreign policy oriented toward economic and political engagement, and in recent years controversial steps often described as “authoritarian” by observers inside and outside the country. But what is “really going on” in Turkey? How might we understand where Turkey is heading? This course explores the contemporary history, culture, economy, and politics of Turkey to help answer those questions through lectures by Professor Silverstein and other UA experts on Turkey.


Required Reading: 

Hanioglu, Sükrü. Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0691157948.

Öktem, Kerem. Turkey Since 1989: Angry Nation (Global History of the Present). Zed Books, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1848132115.

BRIAN SILVERSTEIN is Associate Professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, where he heads the new Arizona Center for Turkish Studies. He is the author of Islam and Modernity in Turkey (2011) and many journal articles. His current research is on Turkey’s European Union integration reforms, particularly the politics of statistics.

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