Senior Cultural Studies student, Hayal Akarsu, will give a talk at the “2nd International Conference on Islam- Dialogue vs. Conflict: Islam in the Age of Globalization” organized by the Global Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 24-26 March 2006. The abstract for her talk follows below. Detailed information about the conference can be found at //www.islam-conf.org/. Selected papers from the conference will be published as a book.
“Ramadanization of the World”: Religious and National Identifications in the Multiculturalism and Globalization Discourses
A Turkish TV program that was broadcast this year during Ramadan is the topic of this talk. With the motto “Ramadanization of the World” (Dünya Ramazanlaşıyor…), the producers broadcast from more than thirty countries from
Kazakhstan to the
Mauritania, to the
USA. In some of these programs, particular practices associated with Ramadan are portrayed in different ways. While some programs focus on Turks and other Muslims, others portray joint organizations of Muslims and non-Muslims, in which the notion of interfaith dialogue and tolerance is underlined. Yet, along with the emphasis on multiculturalism and globalization, audiences are faced with the emphasis on Turkishness, for instance, by re-remembering the “Ottoman Past” or highlighting the “great” achievements of Turkish schools in these countries. With the aid of textual analysis and interviews with the producers of this program, throughout the paper, I will scrutinize how the motto of “Ramadanization of the World” manifests itself in different local contexts, and what it can contribute to our understanding of nationalism in its articulation with transnationalism. The program also encouraged me to ask questions about how transnational Islamic identities are forged through both “multicultural” and “multireligious” events aiming at interfaith dialogue and tolerance, as well as through intercommunity organizations that emphasize religious and/or national identification. Furthermore, can we say that the new transnational spaces that religion provides transcend the spaces of the nation-state and nationalism by presenting supra-national identities and collectivities?