Housing Subjects of New Islamism: Islamic Nation-building and the Built Environment

Bülent Batuman, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Profile photo of Bülent Batuman

Friday, April 20, 2018
12 pm - 1 pm
Hayes Hall 217
UB South Campus

This presentation discusses the role of housing in the Islamization of everyday life in Turkish cities and the key role of urban renewal in the production of urban space. While large-scale housing projects are common enterprises, especially in the developing world, a crucial aspect of the Turkish case has been the attempts at Islamic community building through these projects. While squatter populations were disciplined in new housing compounds, Islamic gated communities have also emerged, first as retreats for the growing pious bourgeoisie and later as manifestations of a new lifestyle. The talk will focus on two housing settlements built in Istanbul and Ankara, the largest cities of Turkey that have been governed by Islamist mayors since 1994. These housing projects reflect a desire to create Islamic environments and a pious community life: the new Islamist utopia in which the rich and the poor will live side-by-side and class conflicts will be resolved with reference to Islam.

Bülent Batuman studied architecture at the Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey) and received his Ph.D. in History and Theory of Art and Architecture from State University of New York–Binghamton. He teaches urban design and politics of modern urbanism in the Department of Urban Design and Landscape Architecture at Bilkent University. His current research focuses on the architectural politics of Islamism in Turkey and his latest book New Islamist Architecture and Urbanism: Negotiating Nation and Islam through Built Environment in Turkey was published by Routledge in 2018. Dr. Batuman is currently a Fulbright scholar at Penn State University.

Image of housing designed by Batuman