As a political psychologist who studies the impact of religion and culture on Muslim immigrant women’s civic and political engagement in North America and Western Europe, Dr. Saba Ozyurt brings an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to the study of international and global issues at Alliant International University.
Ozyurt, assistant professor of international studies and program coordinator for undergraduate programs said that international relations as a discipline is no longer limited to the study of nation-states or governments. The increasing significance and impact of non-governmental actors and agencies, including individuals, civil society and non-governmental organizations requires that, “we teach international and global issues through different lenses and frameworks of various disciplines. We cannot sufficiently analyze complex international and global phenomena unless we move beyond disciplinary boundaries and look at issues from a multidisciplinary and holistic perspective.”
Consistent with Alliant’s mission to train professionals to practice in diverse communities and in an increasingly globalized world, Dr. Ozyurt is committed to a multicultural education and strives to instill multicultural competency through her teaching and scholarship. “One of my primary goals as a faculty is to help students understand and appreciate cultural and religious diversity and make them aware of the power dynamics in local and global interactions, processes and outcomes. Integrating multiculturalism into my teaching means that my students gain the tools to engage in critical analysis of dominant Western theories and are able to analyze global issues using alternative, non-Western frameworks.”
Dr. Ozyurt’s own research focuses on multiculturalism and minority rights in pluralist societies, particularly the rights of religious minorities, women and immigrants. Her two recent peer reviewed articles, “Selective Integration of Muslim Immigrant Women in the United States: Explaining Islam’s Paradoxical Impact” and “Negotiating Multiple Identities, Constructing Western-Muslim Selves in the Netherlands and the United States” empirically test the validity of the clash of cultures hypothesis. Specifically, her research examines how Muslim immigrant women in the United States and the Netherlands utilize religious and cultural resources to negotiate their multiple identities and to construct unique “Muslim-Western ” identities.
Dr. Ozyurt is currently working on a research project that looks at the best practices for integrating religious competencies into international relations education. A part of the project involves in-depth analysis of faith-based non-profit organizations and their impact on global human development.