Dr. Mustafa Gökçek, associate professor of history and director of the master of arts in interdisciplinary studies program at Niagara University, will present “Doomed for Civic Death in Turkey” as part of the Buffalo Humanities Festival, which takes place Sept. 19-21 at Rockwell Hall at SUNY Buffalo State. This year’s topic is democracy.

Turkey under Erdogan’s rule has turned from a democratic to an authoritarian model. Especially since the pseudo coup of July 2016, tens of thousands from all walks of life have faced trumped up charges of terrorism and were deprived of their most basic human rights. Dr. Gökçek’s presentation on Saturday, Sept. 21, will specifically address the collapse of the democratic institutions in Turkey, and present a review of the various categories of government oppression in that country and the ordinary individuals who have faced civic death as a result.

Dr. Gökçek received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in international relations at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. He served as a visiting researcher at the People’s Friendship University, Moscow, Russia, before pursuing his Ph.D. in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dissertation focused on Muslim intellectuals from Russia, who migrated to Istanbul in the early 20th century and actively engaged in the intellectual discussions on Islam and Turkish nationalism. His research interests include contemporary social movements in Muslim societies. Dr. Gökçek currently teaches courses on the history of the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East, Russia, and Central Asia. He helped establish the Middle Eastern and Islamic studies program at Niagara University and led study-abroad trips to Istanbul.

Since 2014, the Buffalo Humanities Festival has fostered dialogue, the sharing of ideas, and the enjoyment of the humanities among the public, scholars, and artists. This annual event is presented by the University at Buffalo’s Humanities Institute in cooperation with Canisius College, Niagara University, and SUNY College at Buffalo, as well as the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and Humanities New York. It features local activists and community organizers, nationally renowned authors, scholars, and artists from contributing institutions.

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