Staff profile - David Tittensor

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Dr David Tittensor

Position: Research Fellow
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Arts and Education
Department: Alfred Deakin Institute
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 924 45309 +61 3 924 45309



David'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.


  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Monash University, 2005
  • Bachelor of Arts, Monash University, 2005
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Monash University, 2011


Conferences and seminars

Tittensor, David (forthcoming, 2013) ‘Making Modern Muslims: The Gülen Movement and the Ideal of Altin Nesil’ Inaugural Australasian Conference on Islam,  November 25-26 Charles Sturt University, Sydney.

Tittensor, David (2012) ‘Gülen’s Schools and the Changing Nature of Islamic Mission: Exploring the Teacher-Student Dynamic’ MESA Annual Meeting, November 17-20,Denver, Colorado.

Tittensor, David & Michael, Michális (2012) ‘Turkey, Australia and the Middle East Quandary: Looking East, Looking West’ The Oceanic Conference on International Studies, July 18-20, University of Sydney.

Tittensor, David (2011) ‘The Changing Nature of Islamic Mission’. Paper presented at the Islam and Development Roundtable, December 13, Deakin University, Burwood Campus, Melbourne.

Tittensor, David (2011) ‘Towards the Fourth Sector: Gülen’s Schools Between Philanthropy and Capitalism.’ Paper presented at ACFID - Universities Linkage Network Conference: An Australian Approach to Development? People, Practice and Policy, December 12-13, Deakin University, Burwood Campus, Melbourne.

Tittensor, David & Anderson, Flora (2011) ‘European Identity and Turkey:
Reconstituting the Symbolic Order/Other. Paper presented at the Globalization, Illiberalism, the West and Islam: European and Australian Perspectives Conference, June 16-17 Prato, Italy.

Tittensor, David (2010). ‘An alternative pilgrimage: teachers doing hizmet abroad’.Paper presented at The Significance of Education for the Future: The Gülen Model, October 19-21  State Islamic Univerity of Indonesia

Tittensor, David (2009). ‘The Gülen Movement: Muslim Educational Activism in Turkey and Abroad’. Paper Presented at the PSI Postgraduate Symposium: Connecting Conversations, October 28 , Monash University, Melbourne.

Tittensor, David & Anderson, Flora (2009). ‘Turkey and the EU: Who’s the sick mannow?’ Paper presented at Young Researchers Conference: East and West together: Twenty Years After the Fall of Communism in Europe, September 23 , Monash University, Melbourne.

Tittensor, David (2009). ‘Essentially Evil? Takkiya and the New Muslim Dissemblers?’ Paper presented at the Islamophobia Conference,  July 18-19, Monash University, Melbourne.

Tittensor, David (2009). ‘Not Just Talking Heads: The Gülen Movement Translating Rhetoric into Action’ Paper presented at the From Dialogue to Collaboration: the Vision of Fethullah Gulen & Muslim-Christian Relations Conference, 15-16 July, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne.

Tittensor, David (2008). ‘Fethullah Gülen’s Schools of Love: A Muslim Model for the Future?’ Paper presented at the Second International Peace Conference, Philosophical Perspectives on Peace: Turkey, Germany & Europe,  October 23-26, Technische Universität Berlin.

Tittensor, David (2007). ‘US-Australia Alliance: asymmetry breeds symmetry’. Paper presented at the Australia in the Middle East & Central Asia: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan Workshop,  November 21-22, Australian National University, Canberra.


Awards and prizes

2008 Endeavour Award for Turkey ($50,000)


Research interests

Muslim movements, Turkish politics and society, religion and development, and the Middle East. 



Tittensor, David (2014) The House of Service: The Gülen Movement and Islam's Third Way New York: Oxford University Press. - Due out in April.

Clarke, Matthew &  Tittensor, David (Eds). (2014) Islam and Development: Exploring the Invisible Aid Economy Aldershot: Ashgate. - Due out in June.

Tittensor, David (forthcoming 2014) 'Modern Day Ibn Battutas: Gülen Teachers Journeying Toward the Divine' British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 

Hoffstaedter, Gerhard & Tittensor, David (2013) ‘Religion & Development: Prospects and Pitfalls of Faith Based Organisations’ in M. Clarke (Ed.) Handbook of Research on Development and Religion UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Tittensor, David (2013) 'Farish Noor – Islam on the Move: Tablighi Jamaat in Southeast Asia', (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012). Asian Ethnicity 14(3): 387-389.

Tittensor, David (2012) ‘The Gülen Movement and the Case of a Secret Agenda: Putting the Debate in Perspective Journal of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 23(2): 163–179.

Tittensor, David (2010). ‘Fethullah Gülen’s Schools of Love: A Muslim Model for the Future?’ In Concerning Peace: New Perspectives on Utopia by Kai Gregor & Sergei Spetschinsky (Eds.) UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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