PRIME Youth was at the Humboldt University

Metin Koca, PRIME Youth Postdoctoral Researcher, delivered a lecture titled “Religion in Human Sciences and Islam in Europe” as an invited speaker at Humboldt University in Berlin on July 7, 2023. Koca’s talk was part of Dr Deniz Güneş Yardımcı’s seminar “Berlin in Migration Cinema: From Migrant Ghettos to Culturally Hybrid Urban Districts” in the Berlin Perspectives program for international students.  

Koca’s talk covered Europe’s knowledge of religion through the baggage of different disciplines, from Anthropology to Law. Koca argued that these disciplines and their applications in theory and practice took religion as part of the core concepts “in their DNA:” “religion as ideology” for Political Science, “religion as culture” for Anthropology, “religion as practice” for Law. Taken together, these perspectives reflect the priorities, issues, and complexities of modern thinking. The combination as such, according to Koca, has led many to call Human Sciences a by-product of “Eurocentrism”. However, Koca also pointed out that the contrasts between disciplines suggest that interpretations coming out of the West are not monolithic and not altogether rejected by the postcolonialist readings of Human Sciences. “It is not a consciously designed system with singular implications for the rest of the world,” Koca concluded.  

Focusing on the specificity of Islam in the second part of his lecture, Dr Koca differentiated between the ways of being Muslim and speaking as Muslim in the public sphere. Koca argued that studying Islam in Europe requires engaging with a multiplicity of arguments, not necessarily aligned, in the very different contexts of integration, radicalization, and democratic values. “A proposal that tames radicalization may underpin communitarianism,” Koca argued.  

Dr Koca concluded his lecture by pointing out several research trajectories that provide different answers about Islam in Europe, depending on which aspect of religion is under scrutiny. The lecture was followed by a lively Q&A session, in which the participants questioned Koca's contributions along with various visual representations of Islam depicted in migration cinema.