Women between Religion and the State: The Institution of Vaize in Turkey

May 9, 2017 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Sala Belvedere, Villa Schifanoia


Since the early 2000s, the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), a state institution epitomising the ongoing transformations of Turkish laicism (laiklik), has increased the number of female preachers (vaize, pl. vaizeler). In charge of providing women with religious knowledge and moral support, the vaizeler weekly organise Qur’an readings, exegesis sessions, sermons and seminars in Turkey’s local mosques and municipalities’ cultural centres.

Drawing on ethnographic observation of the vaizeler’s everyday activities in Istanbul, this work based on a research conducted in 2013-2014 inductively investigates the forms and the meanings of the Diyanet’s policy towards female preaching. Through this angle, the workshop aims at analysing the redefinition of relations between Secularism and Religion in Turkey.

Chiara Maritato obtained a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Turin. She is currently Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Research Associate at the Department of Cultures, Politics and Society (DCPS) of the University of Turin and Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the Stockholm University, Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS). Her research interests include the interactions between state and religion in Turkey, with a particular focus on female preaching and the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet)’s policies towards women and family. Her works are published on Journals like Turkish Studies and Religion, State and Society.

Sala Belvedere, Villa Schifanoia

Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies


Sarah Katherine St John – Send a mail

Georges Fahmi (EUI – Middle East Directions)
Metin Koca (EUI – Department of Political and Social Sciences)

Luigi Narbone (Director of the Middle East Directions Programme)

Chiara Maritato (University of Turin)

The Middle East Directions Programme