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THE DEBATE BETWEEN ISLAM AND THE WEST IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Final Report Summary - DEBIWIST (THE DEBATE BETWEEN ISLAM AND THE WEST IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY)

Project DEBIWIST targeted, as indicated in the submitted proposal, documenting the perceptions of Eastern scholars and intellectuals about the West and modern European civilization. How much interactions were there, how deep the relations were, what inspired Ottoman and Muslim scholars about the West, what did they detest and what did they aspire to model after were questions historians, cultural historians and political scientists including the policy makers still wonder. Comprehensive works on these issues has yet to appear. Dr. Kirecci’s DEBIWIST Project identified important issues towards demonstrating these aspects of intellectuals and statesmen whose influences are still felt. In fact the volatile relations of modern Turkey with the EU, especially in the struggle to become a full member, clearly demonstrate that some of these questions are still valid and need deeper as well as fresh analysis. DEBIWIST Project attempted to do that.

The fellow was able to identify select representative thinkers, intellectuals and statesmen, who wrote about European sciences and technologies. The project also achieved identifying ouvres of intellectuals and scholars who lived during the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. A database therefore was formed about intellectuals and scholars, who wrote about the question of Westernization, sciences and technology and raised issues regarding the relations of Europe between Islam and the Ottoman Empire. The Department of History is especially happy with the library that Dr. Kirecci created within the department, which attracts our students’ attention.
The fellow’s aim was to contribute in-depth and scholarly information and analyses to current debates about the compatibility of Islam and European civilizations. In his record of publications and several scientific presentations, it seems that Dr. Kirecci has devoted his scholarly works towards proving the deep level of cooperation between the two civilizations.
Some of his publications came during the last two years, and some more are being in progress. In fact, his work in progress list will further enrich our understanding of modernity and modernization in the late nineteenth century Ottoman context and their impact in our modern world.

Dr. Kirecci made several scientific presentations during the last four years. He was invited by UNESCO Committee on Ethics and Human Rights to deliver a plenary lecture. He was also invited by two important Universities in Portugal last November to deliver tasks on specific topics. Catholic University of Portugal specifically asked him to prepare a paper on the similarities between the Tanzimat modernization afforts b/w 1839-1876 with the modern Turkey’s efforts to adopt the Copenhagen Criteria. He made several other presentations at home and abroad covering different aspect of the cultural, political, scientific and technological relations/exchanges between Europe and the Ottoman world.

Dr. Kirecci also supervises several graduate students in our department, both PhD and Master’s degree levels, as well as serves as a member in several other graduate students’ dissertation committees in other departments in the School of Social Sciences.