Istanbul: Living with Difference in a Global City

Lecture | April 5 | 12:30-2 p.m. | 340 Stephens Hall

 Nora Fisher-Onar; E. Fuat Keyman

 Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Panelists will discuss their new volume Istanbul: Living with Difference in a Global City (Rutgers University Press, 2018) which asks: What does Istanbul teach us, for better or for worse, about living with the Other? The interdisciplinary group of contributors hail from politics, international studies, area studies, urban studies, sociology, anthropology, and geography. Chapters examine historical and contemporary strategies for living with diversity pursued by, among others, religious majorities/minorities, migrants, environmentalists, and the LGBTQ movement.

Dr. Keyman will provide an overview of the volume and state of play in Turkey today, while Dr. Fisher-Onar will speak under the rubric: “Between Neo-Ottomanism and Neo-Liberalism: The Politics of Imagining Istanbul.” The talk will explore two neo-Ottoman visions which vie for ownership of Istanbul’s story in the early 21st century: Ottoman-Islamic and Belle Époque Istanbul. Both display nostalgia for the imperial past: a pro-religious narrative which celebrates the Ottoman-Islamic glory days of the early modern era, and a pro-secular story invoking the city's synthesis of Westernism and Ottoman multiculturalism during the Belle Époque. Both are advocated by the city's capitalists and intelligentsia, and offer ethical frameworks for how to live with diversity. Both, however, have blind spots, omitting the aspirations of others who share the city's spaces and whose recent mobilizations across class, gender, and sectarian lines the talk will also canvass.

Nora Fisher-Onar is Assistant Professor in Global Politics at Coastal Carolina University. She also serves as research associate of the Centre for International Studies (CIS) at Oxford University, and as a non-residential fellow of the German Marshall Fund (GMF). Her research interests include IR and social theory, comparative area studies, gender, history/memory, and foreign policy analysis. She received her doctorate in International Relations from Oxford and holds masters and undergraduate degrees from Johns Hopkins (SAIS) and Georgetown universities, respectively. She speaks five languages including fluent Turkish. Fisher-Onar is co-editor of Istanbul: Living With Difference in a Global City (Rutgers UP, January 2018), and has published extensively in academic journals like Theory and Society, Women’s Studies International Forum, Conflict and Cooperation, Millennium, and Middle Eastern Studies. She is currently completing a monograph on Pathways to Pluralism: Islam, Liberalism and Nationalism in Turkey and Beyond. She also regularly speaks at policy fora like the GMF, Brookings, and Carnegie, and writes for platforms like Foreign Affairs, the Guardian, and OpenDemocracy.

E. Fuat Keyman is Director of the Istanbul Policy Center and Professor of International Relations at Sabancı University/İstanbul. He works on democratization, globalization, international relations, civil society, and Turkey-EU relations. He has produced many books and articles, both in English and in Turkish, in these areas. Among his books are Democracy, Identity, and Foreign Policy In Turkey (Palgrave Macmillan 2014, with Şebnem Gümüşçü); Symbiotic Antagonisms: Contending Discourses of Nationalism in Turkey (University of Utah Pres, 2010, with Ayşe Kadıoğlu); Remaking Turkey (Lexington, Oxford, 2008)); Globalization, State, Identity/Difference: Towards a Critical Social Theory of International Relations (Humanities Press, New Jersey, 1997); and Cities: The Transformation of Anatolia (Dogan Publications, İstanbul, 2010, in Turkish)., 510-642-8208