Berna Turam, the Director of International Affairs, is a professor of sociology at Northeastern University. She has an abiding interest in conducting research on state-society interaction, particularly on the interaction between ordinary Muslim people and the state. Her most recent work explored the interplay between the government and contested urban space. Her ethnography in Istanbul and Berlin revealed and analyzed the ways in which contested urban space generated democratic practices and freedoms that facilitate inclusion and democratic accommodation.
By gendering political and spatial processes of inclusion and exclusion, she also does intersectional analysis of religion, space and gender. She is the author of Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement (Stanford University Press, 2007), and Gaining Freedoms: Claiming Space in Istanbul and Berlin (Stanford University Press, 2015) and the editor of Secular State and Religious Society: Two Forces at Play in Turkey (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) In addition, she published articles in journals including British Journal of Sociology, International Journal of Urban and Regional Studies, Nations and Nationalism, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Contemporary Islam and Journal of Democracy. She co-edited a special issue, entitled “Secular Muslims?” in Comparative Studies of South America, Africa and the Middle East. Her article, entitled “Primacy of Space in Politics: Bargaining Space, Power and Freedom in an Istanbul neighborhood,” won the best article award from the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research in 2013.
Over the course of 2016, she was awarded two fellowships at London School of Economics and at Cosmopolis Department of Geography at Vrije University in Brussels. Currently, Turam serves on the advisory board of the project entitled “Understanding the Perceptions of Science in Muslim Societies.” She is also the Co-PI of a newly funded collaborative project on sanctuary cities and safe places.