9 December 2016, 17:30-19:30, Beurschouwburg (Rue Auguste Ortsstraat 20-28, 1000 Brussels)
Contested Cities: Muslim Piety in Secular Places
How do the city and urban ways of life influence democracy? Berna Turam (Northeastern University) explores how urban space can create new and creative politics, particularly in divided cities, which face multiple challenges of inclusion/exclusion. On the one hand, she examines the ways in which inclusion of Muslims into secular urban sites deeply divides secular urbanites over issues of accommodation of pious ways of life. On the other hand, Turam’s ethnography reveals and analyzes urban contestation, which enables new alliances over the defense of democratic liberties and rights. The particular processes of inclusion and mixing in contested cities challenge the binary view of Islamist-secularist conflict, as city life frees urbanites from old ideological antagonisms. With a locus of two contested cities, Istanbul and Berlin, Turam argues that the process of democratization is not the reduction of conflict, but rather the capacity to form new alliances out of it.
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