Prof. Dr. Markus Dreßler

Prof. Dr. Markus Dreßler


Moderne Türkeiforschung
Schillerstraße 6, Room S 118
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-37167
Fax: +49 341 97-37169


Heisenberg Professor for Modern Turkish Studies at the Institute for the Study of Religion, Leipzig Univ.

Dissertation and Habilitation in Religious Studies, Doçentlik (Turk. equivalent to habilitation) in Sociology; teaching positions in the U.S. (Hofstra Univ., 2004-2008) and Turkey (TU Istanbul, 2008-2013); further fulltime appointments: Oberlin College, Bayreuth Univ., Göttingen Univ.

Research interests: Alevi Studies; religion, politics, and society in the late Ottoman Empire and Turkey; religion & secularism.

Professional career

  • since 03/2021
    Professor for Modern Turkish Studies at the Institute for the Study of Religions at Leipzig University
  • 12/2019 - 02/2021
    Assistant Professor, Heisenberg Scholar (DFG Heisenberg Program), Institute for the Study of Religions, Leipzig University
  • 04/2016 - 11/2019
    Senior Researcher, DFG Humanities Center "Multiple Secularities - Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities", Leipzig University
  • 09/2016 - 12/2017
    Visiting Professor for Sociology, University of St. Gallen
  • 04/2016 - 08/2016
    Visiting Professor, Historisches Seminar, University of Zurich
  • 04/2015 - 03/2016
    Visiting Researcher, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen
  • 10/2015 - 03/2016
    Assistant Professor, Institute for the Study of Religion, University of Bayreuth
  • 04/2015 - 09/2015
    Visiting Chair, Institute for the Study of Religion, University of Bayreuth
  • 10/2014 - 03/2015
    Visiting Professor, Social Scientific Study of Religion, Cultural Sociology, University of Göttingen
  • 09/2013 - 09/2014
    Assistant Professor, Religious Studies Department, University of Bayreuth
  • 09/2011 - 12/2013
    Visiting Professor for Sociology, University of St. Gallen
  • 11/2011 - 08/2013
    Associate Professor, Social Sciences and Humanities Department, Istanbul Technical University
  • 06/2010 - 07/2010
    Visiting Assistant Professor, Turkology, Free University Berlin, ERASMUS Faculty Exchange Program (June-July)
  • 06/2010 - 07/2010
    Research Fellow, Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin (June-July)
  • 11/2008 - 11/2011
    Assistant Professor, Social Sciences and Humanities Department, Istanbul Technical University
  • 09/2008 - 03/2009
    Senior Fellow in Residence, Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, Koç University, Istanbul
  • 02/2005 - 12/2008
    Assistant Professor (tenure track), Religion Department, Hofstra University
  • 09/2007 - 02/2008
    Research Fellow, American Research Institute in Turkey ARIT, Istanbul
  • 02/2004 - 06/2004
    Visiting Adjunct Professor, Department for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University
  • 07/2003 - 12/2003
    Visiting Assistant Professor, Religion Department, Oberlin College
  • 02/2003 - 06/2003
    Visiting Adjunct Professor, Religious Studies Program, New York University
  • 11/2001 - 05/2002
    Visiting Scholar, Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University
  • 05/2001 - 10/2001
    Visiting Scholar, Orient Institute, Istanbul


  • 12/2013 - 10/2014
    Habilitation in religious studies, University of Bayreuth
  • 11/2010 - 11/2011
    Doçentlik (Turkish equivalent to habilitation) in sociology, YÖK (Turkey)
  • 04/1998 - 03/2001
    Doctorate in religious studies, Max Weber College for Cultural and Social Studies, University of Erfurt
  • 04/1992 - 08/1997
    M.A. Religious Studies and Islamic Studies, Universities of Marburg and Gießen

The focus of my research is on

  • history and historiography of religion, with special emphasis on Turkish religious history,
  • the tension between religion, state and politics in a historical perspective, with a focus on the late Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey,
  • secularization and secularism studies,
  • general theoretical and methodological questions in the study of religion and Islam,
  • religious minorities and minority discourses in the Middle East,
  • as well asissues concerning intra- and intra-religious difference.

My current research focuses in particular on "Turkish religious history" and "religion and politics in Turkey".

In my historical work I combine approaches from the history of ideas and conceptual history with discourse analysis and postcolonial approaches. I am particularly interested in the negotiation processes between religious and secular knowledge systems and their interdependencies, which were initiated in the context of the dynamics of modernization. A main focus of my research is on intra- and interreligious contacts as well as processes of differentiation and tradition-building. In my research as well as in my teaching, I strive to further comparative and inter- as well as transdisciplinary perspectives.

  • Dreßler, M.
    The Social Construction of Reality (1966) Revisited: Epistemology and Theorizing in the Study of Religion
    Method & theory in the study of religion. 2019. 31 (2). pp. 120-151
    show details

more publications

In addition to full-time positions in Religious Studies (Oberlin College, Hofstra University, University of Bayreuth) and Sociology (Technical University of Istanbul, University of Göttingen), I taught within Islamic Studies, Turkology, Political Science and History contexts.

As a university teacher, I supervised master's theses (TU Istanbul, University of Bayreuth) and doctoral theses (University of Basel, TU Berlin) and acted as external reviewer of master's and doctoral theses (Bosporus University Istanbul, Columbia University/New York, University of Tromsø/Norway). Currently, I am supervising two dissertation projects at the University of Leipzig (Study of Religions), act as a second supervisor of a work in the sociology of religion at the University of Münster and lead a continuing workshop on Alevi Studies for Ph.D. students, co-financed by a private sponsor.