Cultural Contingency in the Science and Islam Debate: the case of the Gülen Movement

Research project key facts
Project title Cultural Contingency in the Science and Islam Debate: the case of the Gülen Movement
School Arts
Department Archaeology and Anthropology
Funder John Templeton Foundation
Contact Dr David Shankland

More about this project

This project explores the discourse on Islam and modern science in the Hizmet (lit. 'service') movement, a transnational, faith-based civic movement originating in Turkey and inspired by the teachings of M. Fethullah Gülen. Hizmet is active in over a hundred countries worldwide in the field of private education, and its schools are known for both the piety of their teaching staff and their emphasis on, and excellence in, mathematics and the natural sciences. The science-focus of the Hizmet schools derives from a broader discourse within the movement which, drawing on the intellectual heritage of Said Nursi, emphasizes the theological and philosophical compatibility of Islam and modern science. The goal of this project is to explore the negotiation of scientific enquiry within an Islamic framework in particular Hizmet communities in Turkey, through the medium of ethnographic fieldwork. The results of the research will be published in a research monograph, various short articles, and a number of public engagement events. It is anticipated that the project will break new ground firstly by offering an anthropological approach to the study of debates in science and religion, and secondly by considering the relevance of specific cultural and historical contexts to the emergence of such a debate in the Muslim world.

People involved in this project

Principal investigator:

Postdoctoral research assistant: