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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Gender as a Category of Knowledge

Fatma Gökçen Dinç

PhD Project

»Combating Superstitions in Islam«: Historical and Gendered Analysis of Healing Rituals in Late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic


Description of the Project


In Turkish modernity, one of the prominent continuities between the late Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic is the decisiveness regarding the institutionalization of religion. Although the underlying goals of these efforts differ (on the one hand constructing a more religious way of living, and on the other a more secular one) healing rituals were in both cases considered to be »superstitions« by religious or modernist elites, and deemed harmful to the »true« Islam elites were trying to construct. This study will historically analyze Turkish healing rituals from a gendered perspective, situating them within the context of power-knowledge relations, and conceptualizing them as resistance to measures taken by the state during the institutionalization of religion. Tracing the institutional discourses towards healing rituals between 1878 and 1960 and exploring the leading shrines in Istanbul as sacred spaces in the mentioned period, it will also investigate religiosity as defiance, a religiosity different from the hegemonic Sunni Islam



Studied history and gender in Istanbul. Full-time journalist between 2000-2012 and freelance journalist until today. Since January 2012, scholarship-holder at graduate college “Gender as a Category of Knowledge.”

Selected Publications


»Religious« Choice of »Secular« Turkish Women. Religious Marriage. In: Dinlerde Nikah, hg. v. Ömer Dumlu und Ensar Neşriyat, Istanbul 2012. S. 411–422.

Islam and Homosexuality. A Historical Perspective. In: Heteroseksizme Karşı Gökkuşağı, Istanbul 2011. S. 90–101.

›Becoming a Muslim‹ or ›Staying an Armenian‹. The Story of Acar Village of Batman and the Armenian Demirci family. In: AGOS (10.09.2010).