Istanbul Seminars 2015
Bilgi University

Istanbul Seminars
Philosophers Bridge the Bosphorus

The Istanbul Seminars 2015, organised by Reset Dialogues on Civilizations in partnership with the Istanbul Bilgi University, will bring together for the eighth time philosophers, political analysts and sociologists for a week on the Bosphorus. The subject debated will be the republican political model and the crisis it is experiencing from Europe to the Middle East, confronted with the globalisation of politics, economics and communications in an era of migrations, populisms and new technology. Debates will address citizenship and the bewilderment of nation states in the global world. Attention will be paid to the case of Europe, frightened on one hand by immigration and, on the other, overwhelmed by the pressure of illiberal movements hostile to pluralism and cultural differences. The Seminars will also discuss the deviation of the Arab Springs which have openly opposed the republican model – identified by insurgents with the authoritarianism of nationalist Arab regimes – without, however, allowing the emergence of alternative legitimate and inclusive models.  Roundtables and debates will also focus on the role of Turkey in the greater Middle East today, caught between the threats of jihadism and war on its southern borders, internal challenges, the relationship to Europe and the pursuit of a regional leadership role. In this context, the seminars will also discuss religion – which has violently returned to the international stage by the jihadist emergency – and secularism as well as the complex relationship that, even in republican contexts, they both entertain with the fundamental issue of freedom of speech. Case studies and roundtables will also focus on the Kurdish struggle for recognition, the Tunisian democratic exception and ‘post-republican’ transcultural democracy in Latin America.

Purpose and History

“Close encounters across all divides”: Every spring independent minds from different civilizational backgrounds discuss and debate the prospects for democracy, human rights and religion across all divides in week-long meeting (find out who attended the conference last time). Something in between a summer school and a think tank, the Istanbul Seminars have established themselves as a remarkable cultural appointment for a recognizable community of scholars and students.

The Rome-based foundation Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations has been promoting intercultural understanding over the past ten years through public international meetings ad interviews with a wide range of scholars and opinion leaders, with a distinctive focus on the Islamic area. Please go through the website to figure out what we are talking about.

ResetDoc Seminars are willing to promote and consolidate a network of cultural, intellectual and academic relationships among senior and junior scholars and PHD candidates in the social sciences, political theory, sociology, legal and religious studies.

Our goal is to activate mutual understanding and interaction between democratic intellectuals and opinion makers belonging to different geo-political and cultural areas of the “East” and the “West”: ResetDoc promotes dialogue and respect instead of conflict and contempt.

In the past few years, the Seminars have discussed  topics such as 1.Postsecularism (2008), 2.Religion, Human rights and Multicultural Jurisdictions (2009), 3. Realigning Liberalism: Pluralism, Integration, Identities (2010), 4.Overcoming the Trap of resentment (2011), 5. The Promises of Democracy in Troubled Times (2012), 6. The Sources of Political Legitimacy. From the Erosion of the Nation-State to the Rise of Political Islam (2013), 7. The Sources of Pluralism. Metaphysics, Epistemology, Law and Politics (2014)

The 8th edition of the Istanbul Seminars will be held on May 26-30, 2015 at Istanbul Bilgi University. Topic: “Politics Beyond Borders. The Republican Ideal Challenged by the Internationalization of Economy, Law and Communication.””

The conference takes place at Istanbul Bilgi University and attracts a considerable audience of scholars and students from all over the world.

The proceedings of Istanbul Seminars are published by the journal Philosophy&  Social Criticism, Sage publications.

Executive Committee

2013-2015: Asaf Savaş Akat, Seyla Benhabib, Giancarlo Bosetti, Alessandro Ferrara, Abdou Filali-Ansary, Nina zu Fürstenberg, Nilüfer Göle, Ferda Keskin, David Rasmussen.

2008-2012: Seyla Benhabib, Giancarlo Bosetti, Alessandro Ferrara, Abdou Filali-Ansary, Nina zu Fürstenberg, Nilüfer Göle, Ferda Keskin, Nadia Urbinati.

Scientific coordinator:
Volker Kaul

Students coordinator:
Michele Salonia

Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations

We thank Istanbul Bilgi University and Nomis Foundation for their contribution.