Dr. Efe Peker receives Dean's Convocation Medal

June 02, 2016

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dr. Efe Peker is being recognized with the award of the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. Peker on his outstanding achievements. 

Efe Peker completed his PhD jointly in Sociology at SFU and in History at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. He is only the second student to complete a cotutelle, or joint double degree program, at Simon Fraser University.  

His dissertation, A Comparative-Historical Sociology of Secularisation: Republican State Building in France (1875–1905) and Turkey (1908–1938), compares secularism in France and Turkey. His work transforms our understanding of how religion and politics interrelate. It demonstrates that the relationship between the state and religion isn’t simply determined by the dominant faith in a country, nor is it just a matter of ideological dispute. Instead, numerous dynamics like social classes and geopolitics also come into play to shape how secularism is instituted in different countries.

Dr. Gary Teeple, his supervisor, says, "At Efe's dissertation defence, there were six examination committee members, representing two universities with two different academic systems. All members of the committee praised his performance as excellence and there were no requests for revisions — a most remarkable accomplishment."

At the Sorbonne, Efe’s dissertation received “Très honorable avec félicitations du jury,” the highest and rarely conferred distinction in the French academic system. At SFU, he achieved a 4.07 CGPA and received multiple graduate scholarships. In 2014, he also received the American Sociological Association's Albert Szymnski-TR Young Critical Sociology Graduate Student Award.

Dr. Peker is committed to public scholarship, and now works on several publication and filmmaking projects to engage his scholarly work with the wider public. He also coordinates UBC's Public Scholar Initiative, where he offers mentorship and guidance for PhD students to practice community-based scholarship with positive social contribution.

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