Aziz Nesin Visiting Professorship for Diversity Studies to be launched at European University Viadrina

The European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) has established an Aziz Nesin Visiting Professorship in Diversity Studies in honor of the distinguished Turkish writer and unfailing social critic. The professorship is to be initiated in the fall semester of 2011 with the visit of Prof. Dr. Alan Duben, anthropologist from Istanbul Bilgi University. Bilgi rector Prof. Dr. Remzi Sanver and Viadrina rector Prof. Dr. Gunter Fleuger will be present at the official launching ceremony to be held on 2 November.

The professorship was established and is being funded by Viadrina for the purpose of promoting internationalization and international cooperation in teaching and research at Viadrina as a component of the Viadrina-Bilgi dual-degree Master of European Studies Program. Cross-fertilization between Turkish and German and other European scholars and students is particularly important during this time of tension and uncertainty in Europe with regard to migration, diversity, and the place of Islam and Muslims in particular.
During his one month stay at Viadrina from mid-October to mid-November 2011 Prof. Duben will initiate the professorship by offering a block seminar titled “Istanbul in Anthropological Perspective” where he will examine the ways in which this important city has dealt with issues of migration, social class, ethnicity, and diversity from the early 20th century to the present. While Istanbul is not Turkey, nor is it necessarily a model for any European city, it has been the locus of many of the central dynamics of Turkish society as well as being a center of economic, social, political and cultural innovation, at least since the late 19th century. Perhaps there is something to learn from the rich and dynamic experience of Istanbul in the context of issues confronting contemporary Europe. Prof. Duben will also offer a public lecture titled “The Fall and Rise of Istanbul in the 20th Century”. While at Viadrina he will discuss common and potential research issues with local academicians and work closely with both Bilgi students at Viadrina and Viadrina students who plan to or have had a Bilgi experience in order to to improve channels of intercultural communication.