Ayshe Polat

"Reasoning Islam: Late Ottoman Debates on Islam"

After undertaking two years of dissertation research in Istanbul, Turkey, I am excited to be a Martin Marty Fellow for the 2012-2013 academic year. The MMC Fellowship offers a great opportunity for me to settle back in Hyde Park, and write my dissertation in a place specifically designed for this end. While conducting my research, I have written a chapter draft, and have grasped the significance of having a structural and systematic atmosphere and community to write one's dissertation out of an immense amount of material gathered over time. The friendly exchanges with other MMC fellows will not only help me clarify my mind concerning my dissertation, but also will give me a chance to learn from their experiences, as I believe, we will be going through different yet similar challenges of writing. Through the MMC Fellowship I hope also to cultivate the crucial skill of going beyond the specificities of my subject, and articulating it to others who are not familiar with it -- whether they are students and faculty in different fields, or a wider non-academic public. By the end of the fellowship, I intend to finish at least two chapters of my dissertation, which examines the late Ottoman institutional and intellectual Muslim debates on Islam and morality. I am grateful to be a MMC fellow, and look forward to this yearlong productive, stimulating, and positively challenging experience of teaching, learning, as well as writing my dissertation.

Anthropology & Sociology of Religion