PhD in History
I am a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University studying the Ottoman empire, modern Middle East, modern Europe, and World history. I am interested in state-religion relations in imperial settings and nation-states. Currently, I work on my dissertation project: “Strategies of Survival: Popular Piety and Subaltern Publicity of Islamic Revival in Early Republican Turkey, 1925-1960.” I investigate how the subordinate strata of the Turkish nation-in-the-making outside major urban centers of Anatolia survived the repressive regulations and aggressively secular measures of the Kemalist state from 1925 until 1960. From a subaltern perspective, I examine religion-state relations focusing on Said Nursi’s Nur community as a case study for a social history of religious life in the early Turkish Republic. I analyze the ways in which religious commonfolk resisted the top-down imposition of Kemalist cultural experiments and their strategies to re-shape cultural and religious policies of the state in the long run. I also analyze the contributions of ordinary people to the Republic of Turkey in its transformation into a more pluralistic political entity than before as well as to republican values. These values included self-improvement, self-initiative, public opinion, collective decision-making, popular sovereignty, the national identity of Turkishness, active citizenship with civil and human rights including but not limited to the freedom of conscience and the right to practice religion, dedication to the nation, as well as participation into the collective good. My research demonstrate that Nurcus’ struggle to survive as a group of pious people in a hostile secular regime, whose way of life and strong beliefs in the Afterlife were at odds with the positivist teachings of the Kemalist education system and public policies, forced Nurcus to configure certain workable but non-confrontational strategies. By this way, they could bypass state intervention into their religious lives but keep public peace for a potential rapprochement in the future with the state. Thus, Nurcus negotiated the character of national identity and secularism, and contributed to the democratic experience of the Turkish Republic during the multiparty regime in the 1950s. I received my B.A. in International Relations from Istanbul University focusing on diplomacy and world politics. I earned two Master’s degrees; one in Islamic Studies from Hartford Seminary in Connecticut and the other in Ottoman & Modern Middle East History from State University of New York, Binghamton. I engaged in religious work at Bloomfield Muslim Community Center in Connecticut before coming to Northeastern University to study World History. I am an avid fan of public history and fond of visiting historical sites around me.
Related Schools & Departments
Research Interests: Social and religious movements, intellectual and cultural history, knowledge and reform in the Muslim world, Islamic political thought, and global history of constitutionalism.
More Student Paths
- Savita is from Boston and is a graduate of the Boston Latin School.
- Originally a Cultural Anthropology major, Savita later became an English major with minors in Africana Studies and Writing Studies.
- Through the service-learning course, Boston in Literature, Savita volunteered with 826 Boston to tutor in English. She is now a service-learning teaching assistant.
- For her final project in Post-Colonial Women's Writers with Professor Aljoe, she researched Carnival and its cultural significance to Trinidad and Tobago.
- Inspired by Professor Aljoe, Savita joined the Early Caribbean Digital Archive, working on an exhibit about Caribbean Carnival and creating and gathering teaching materials.
- In 2020, she began a co-op with the Africana Studies program to learn more about the field of Black Studies.
- Savita wants to work to better her own community. In the future, she hopes to become a high school teacher or a college professor. ..
- Andrew grew up in Japan, and decided to pursue his undergraduate degree back in the U.S.
- Andrew applied to Northeastern as a Business major. As his high school career came to a close, he became more interested in Japanese politics, history, and social issues.
- When thinking about what truly engaged him, Andrew felt that Asian Studies and Political Science was a better fit and switched his major to Asian Studies.
- Andrew connected with Professor Daniel Aldrich after meeting him at a presentation of his book at the institute for social sciences at Tokyo University.
- From his first day of classes, Professor Aldrich encouraged and helped Andrew get involved in research projects.
- During his first semester, Professor Aldrich paired Andrew with Tim Fraser, a PhD candidate in Political Science with strong interests in disaster resilience in Japan.
- With Tim, Andrew collected biographical information on the committee members on all the reconstructional committees on municipal, prefectural, and national level. ..
- Emerson wanted a contextualized Political Science degree, and applied to Northeastern specifically for the PPE (Politics, Philosophy, and Economics) program.
- "Introduction to Economic Justice" with Professor Serena Parekh was one of Emerson's favorite courses, allowing her to study economic justice from a philosophical lens.
- Emerson was accepted by the Roosevelt Institute to do financialization research at Northeastern, examining economic priorities.
- Emerson also started a research thesis her freshman year to look at the link between modern dystopian literature and the the rise of female-led political movements.
- When Emerson found out about the HCL (History, Culture, and Law) major, she was immediately interested in adding the major to enhance her PPE studies.
- The Culture & Colonialism concentration allowed Emerson to double-credit and to develop the breadth of knowledge needed for someone who wants to work at the State Department.
- In January 2020, Emerson founded NU's Interdisciplinary Women's Collaborative (IWC) with the help of mentor and advisor Heather Hauck...
Charles T. Wallace-Thomas IV
- Charles chose to attend Northeastern because he was intrigued by the signature co-op program and wanted a curriculum that combined real-world experience without compromising thorough academic rigor.
- Initially an engineering student, Charles switched to a combined major in Economics and Mathematics to build upon his interest in economic and social justice work. He also has a minor in psychology.
- In his first year, Charles took Sustainable Renewable Energy Development in the Global South with Professor Shalanda Baker, which taught him to question systems as they exist, no matter how established.
- As part of the Ujima Global Leaders Program through the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, Charles did community service, working on the Timebank team which helped him give back to Boston.
- For his first co-op, Charles split his time between the Center for Economic Democracy and the Boston Ujima Project, where he analyzed studies on community needs, like infrastructure and childcare.
- As Campaign Coordinator and Director of Northeastern’s Students Advancing Intersectional Dreams, Charles had spoken to people like Patrisse Cullors, Richie Reseda, Michelle Alexander, and Angela Davis.
- Over the summer of 2020, Charles was one of the co-creators of the #BlackAtNU campaign where he advocated for racial literacy courses and for a restorative and transformative justice center on campus...