The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Photo of Torsten Janson

Torsten Janson


Photo of Torsten Janson

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


  • Torsten Janson
  • Neşe Kınıkoğlu

Summary, in English

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.


  • Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)
  • MECW: The Middle East in the Contemporary World
  • History of Religions and Religious Behavioural Science

Publishing year





Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication

Document type

Journal article




  • Human Geography


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




  • ISSN: 1873-9857