The House of Service

The Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation invites you to celebrate the launch a new book from Dr David Tittensor with special guest speaker Professor Greg Barton


David Tittensor offers a groundbreaking new perspective on the Gülen movement, a Turkish Muslim educational activist network that emerged in the 1960s and has grown into a global empire with an estimated worth of $25 billion. Named after its leader Fethullah Gülen, the movement has established more than 1,000 secular educational institutions in over 140 countries, aiming to provide holistic education that incorporates both spirituality and the secular sciences.

Despite the movement's success, little is known about how its schools are run, or how Islam is operationalized. Drawing on thirteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Turkey, Tittensor explores the movement's ideo-theology and how it is practiced in the schools. His interviews with both teachers and graduates from Africa, Indonesia, Central Asia, and Turkey show that the movement is a missionary organization, but of a singular kind: its goal is not simply widespread religious conversion, but a quest to recoup those Muslims who have apparently lost their way and to show non-Muslims that Muslims can embrace modernity and integrate into the wider community. Tittensor also examines the movement's operational side and shows how the schools represent an example of Mohammad Yunus's social business model: a business with a social cause at its heart. The House of Service is an insightful exploration of one of the world's largest transnational Muslim associations, and will be invaluable for those seeking to understand how Islam will be perceived and practiced in the future.

The author

Dr David Tittensor's research interests are Muslim movements, Turkish politics and society, religion and development, and the Middle East. He has written and presented widely on the Gülen Movement, and has since converted his dissertation into a book entitled The House of Service: The Gülen Movement and Islam's Third Way (Oxford University Press, April, 2014). Upon completing this project he expanded his research agenda to explore the wider domain of religion and development, with a particular focus on Islam. An outgrowth of the broader focus has been an edited volume (with Prof. Matthew Clarke) entitled Islam and Development: Exploring the Invisible Aid Economy, which is due out in June 2014 with Ashgate. 

David undertook his PhD at Monash University (2007-11) where he completed an ethnography of the Turkish Muslim transnational education movement known as the Gülen Movement. During the course of his studies he won the prestigious Endeavour Award for Turkey ($50,000), which enabled him to spend a year in Turkey between 2008 and 09. His dissertation explored the movement's religious ideo-theology and its impact on the movement's educational activities, and whether the movement should be characterised as a philanthropic/civil society organisation.


Greg Barton is the Herb Feith Research Professor for the Study of Indonesia in the Faculty of Arts at Monash. He is based in the Politics stream in the School of Political and Social Inquiry. He is acting Director of the Centre for Islam and the Modern World (CIMOW), Deputy UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific, and is active in the Global Terrorism Research Centre (GTReC). For the past twenty years Greg has been active in inter-faith dialogue initiatives and has a deep commitment to building understanding of Islam and Muslim society. The central axis of his research interests is the way in which religious thought, individual believers and religious communities respond to modernity and to the modern nation state. He also has a strong general interest in comparative international politics.

Greg has undertaken extensive research on Indonesian politics and society, especially of the role of Islam as both a constructive and a disruptive force, and since 2004 has made a comparative study of progressive Islamic thought in Turkey and Indonesia and is hoping to extend this comparative study to India. Recent publications include his co-edited volume The Muslim World and Politics in Transition: Creative Contributions of the Gülen Movement (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013) and (2014) 'The Gülen Movement, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama: Progressive Islamic Thought, Religious Philanthropy and Civil Society in Turkey and Indonesia' Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 25(3): 287-301.

Time and Date


When: 4:45pm for a 5:00pm start
Wednesday 13 August 2014


Deakin University
Melbourne City Centre
Level 3, 550 Bourke Street Melbourne


For more information contact
Ms Cayla Edwards


Tel: +61 92446658

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