Sacred Space, Secular States?

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This video program features two case studies: Jerusalem: Capital of Two States?and Turkey: Fundamental Change.

The first case study, Jerusalem: Capital of Two States?, explores the spatial variations of religious practice in Jerusalem. The three major monotheistic religions of the world share the same sacred ground in the Old City, but without peace. The boundaries that carve up the city and the rest of the Holy Lands were wrought from warfare and the issues are far from settled.

Jerusalem means "city of peace," but Israeli soldiers are always on guard. The entire city is divided by the Green Line, which was the Israeli eastern boundary before it captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the Six Day War of 1967. Part of the land captured in this war includes the Old City and its significant religious sites. Palestinians believe that Israeli control beyond the Green Line and settlements in the West Bank are lands that belong to their would-be state.

This case study includes new updates on the peace process and interviews with former Ambassador Dennis Ross.

The second case study, Turkey: Fundamental Change, examines the gaps between rich and poor, secular and fundamentalist, in Istanbul. The city is situated at the junction of Europe and Asia where Western and Eastern influences collide. Critics of modernization in Turkey's cities see secular democratic and economic reforms as corrupting fundamental Islamic ways of life.

The case study explores the challenges of the rural-to-urban migration that brings secular Turks and fundamentalist Muslims head-to-head in Turkey's largest city. The video contrasts Istanbul's Oriental atmosphere with evidence of its Westernization; the wealth in some of the city's districts compared to the poverty in others; and the secular nature of Turkey's society, which is giving rise to fundamentalism in its politics.

Updates to this case study include commentary by Dr. Anna Secor and Dr. Carl Dahlman. Discussion includes Turkey's desire to join the European Union, and the role of Islam in modern Turkey.

Find additional resources, including primary source materials, interactives, and downloadable print materials, at:

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