Walton’s research and writing grapple broadly with the myriad relationships
between secularism and Islam, and focus specifically on public life in
contemporary Turkey. He initially explored the relationship
between Muslim piety and secular governance in his dissertation, “Horizons and
Histories of Liberal Piety: Civil Islam and Secularism in Contemporary Turkey,”
which he completed for the University of Chicago Department of Anthropology in
2009. Rather than emphasize the domain
of political society—as most studies of secularism and Islam do—his
dissertation explored how both religiosity and secularity are comprehended and
practiced in the realms of civil society and the public sphere. In doing so, his project forwards a new set
of themes in the anthropological study of secularism, including questions of
public space, aesthetics, and cosmopolitanism.
Simultaneously, his dissertation offers a comprehensive treatment of
three Muslim communities in contemporary Turkey, the Nur Community, the Gülen Movement, and Alevi Turks. He is currently revising his dissertation for
publication as an academic monograph, and continues to travel to Turkey as
frequently as possible to pursue research related to both his current book
project and future study. In line with
his research interests, his teaching emphasizes the intersections of religion,
politics, and global cultural forms broadly; recent seminars and lectures that
he has offered include courses on comparative secularism, blasphemy and
globalization, and religion and economic practice.
Criticism, Secular Critique, and the ‘Critical Study of Religion’: Lessons from
the Study of Islam.” (Co-authored with
Noah Salomon) Chapter in The Cambridge
Companion to Religious Studies.
Robert Orsi, ed. Forthcoming from Cambridge University
“Civil Islam and the Contradictions of Modernity: Ethnographic Notes
from Turkey.” Chapter in Survey of the Sociology of Islam & Muslim Societies: Secularism,
Economy and Politics. Tuğrul Keskin,
ed. Forthcoming from Ithaca
and the Pious Aesthetics of Publicness: Making Place and Space Virtuous in Istanbul.” Chapter in Orienting Istanbul: Cultural Capital of Europe?
Deniz Göktürk, Levent Soysal and İpek Türeli, eds. Routledge. Edited volume published by Routledge.
2010 “Hungry Wolves, Inclement
Storms: Consuming American Power in Turkey in the
Age of the War on Terror.” Chapter in Anthropology
and Global Counterinsurgency.
with John D. Kelly, Beatrice Jauregui, and Sean Mitchell. Anthropology
and Global Counterinsurgency, edited volume published by the University of Chicago Press.
a (New) Anthropology of Liberal Islam.” In Anthropology
Dissertation, “Horizons and Histories of Liberal Piety: Civil Islam and Secularism in Contemporary Turkey,” Department of Anthropology, the University of Chicago.
Member, Editorial Board, Sociology
of Islam and Muslim Societies (Journal)
Member, American Anthropological Association
Academy of Religion