Sacred (re)collections: Culture, space and boundary negotiation in Turkish-Islamic memory politics

Torsten Janson, Neşe Kınıkoğlu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses how state-organized, memory-cultural production drawing on religious signifiers contributes to a sacralization of Turkish public memory institutions and public space. This reinforces an Islamic-nationalist imagination of contemporary Turkey. The article explores state-led, disciplinary interventions in museal space (the Sacred Trusts exhibition of relics at Topkapı Palace Museum) and commemorative ritual in public space, display and education (the rise, fall and recalibration of Holy Birth Week (Kutlu Doğum Haftası). Drawing on theories of symbolic politics, nationalism, memory and space, the article elucidates the sacralization of Turkish memory production as a contesting yet malleable negotiation of nationalism. Innovative Islamic memory practice and ritualization requires careful discursive and disciplinary boundary drawing, catering to theological sensitivities and Sunni-orthodox mores. Then again, the spatial boundaries between various memory-cultural domains are becoming less distinct. Today, Islamic-nationalist imaginaries surface in the interstices of public memory institutions, public education and everyday public space.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMiddle East Journal of Culture and Communication
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Human Geography

Free keywords

  • Turkey; Islam; nationalism; memory; symbolic politics; sacralization


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