Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationNorth Carolina, Wilmington, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10267
Approve DateApril 13, 2022
Project TitleKocamaner, Hikmet (North Carolina, Wilmington, U. of) "Turkey’s Religious Infrastructures: Islam, Infrastructure, and Governance in Contemporary Turkey"
Bridging the anthropology of infrastructure with the study of religion and politics, this research project asks: How do the technical infrastructures originally designed to regulate religion facilitate the integration of Islam into governance in Turkey? Since the Turkish Republic was founded, the religious affairs of the Sunni-Muslim majority have been centralized by a state institution known as “Diyanet” in Turkish. All Turkish mosques are operated by Diyanet and staffed by state-appointed imams and preachers. These mosques, Islamic authorities, and religious affairs are interconnected through an assemblage of technical infrastructures — most notably a mosque loudspeaker network broadcasting calls to prayers, sermons, and government announcements, and an online data infrastructure aimed at auditing and standardizing the activities of religious functionaries. Under the ruling Muslim-conservative government, these data and communication infrastructures have been appropriated to further integrate Islam into government’s social services; to collect statistical data about the domestic problems of devout citizens; and to warn about “national threats” like a military coup attempt and the COVID-19 pandemic. By ethnographically studying these infrastructures, religious functionaries operating them, and the citizens interpellated by them, I will examine how religious infrastructures constitute a key terrain for securing political power and facilitating governmentality in Turkey.