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Elisabeth Becker Topkara

Assistant professor/Freigeist Fellow, Max Weber Institute of Sociology, Heidelberg University


Elisabeth Becker Topkara is an Assistant Professor/Freigeist Fellow at the Max-Weber-Institute-for-Sociology, Heidelberg University. Elisabeth’s research centers on the cultural construction and contestation of borders and boundaries. She explores the experiences and place-making practices of religious, racial, and ethnic minorities – Muslims and Jews in particular – in both Europe and the United States. Elisabeth has contributed to sociological debates on how migration and pluralism shape contemporary societies, including the continued exclusions faced by Muslims in Europe through a theory of incivility and undercaste status; and the agency of Muslim and Jewish populaces to foster social change in the urban centers of Europe and the United States. Her book, Mosques in the Metropolis: Incivility, Caste, and Contention (University of Chicago Press), offers a unique look into two of Europe’s largest urban mosque communities, providing a complex picture of Muslim life, while highlighting the failures of European pluralism.

Elisabeth is also a public scholar who works with non-profit organizations (e.g., the New America Foundation and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding). Her writing on pluralism has appeared in publications such as the Washington Post, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Religion & Politics, and Tablet Magazine. She has been featured on BBC Radio.

Updated November 2021