My Senior Independent Thesis is a study in the application of religious studies theory to the historical case study of early Repbulican Turkey. I am looking at questions of secularism as it is exhibited in modernization, Civil Religion and the public sphere. In particular, I am looking at the complex ways that secularism impacts and defines both religious and political movements. My project aims to deconstruct the dominant theory of secularism, and show its flaws in defining the relation between political systems and public religion. Specifically, I am studying the Kemalist political movement in the early 1920’s that led to the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. The project is looking at the early Turkish Republic and its interaction with established Islamic communities in Anatolia at the time. Furthermore, the Turkish revolution exhibited fundamentally religious rights through indoctrination, public rituals, and utopian ideologies. The trend in historiography is to examine Atatürk and his political movement as “secular.” Secularism as it relates to the Turkish Revolution needs to undergo a redefinition. It no longer holds significance in fully articulating the rise of functional differentiation because of the active ways in which the institutionalized hierarchy of the political movement attempted to control the public sphere and permeate all realms of society. In addition, the classification of the Turkish Republic as “secular” requires the decline and marginalization of established religion in Turkey at the time. The evidence however, maintains the prominence of religious institutions in the lives of the Turkish people throughout the Republican era.


Kammer, Charles

Second Advisor

Sene, Ibra

Third Advisor

Mirza, Sarah


History; Religious Studies


Other Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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