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Keywords:

  • gentrification;
  • Istanbul;
  • neoliberalism;
  • Islam;
  • gender;
  • dance

With manifold projects of historic preservation, gentrification, and urban renewal, Istanbul has transformed over the last two decades into a preeminent metropolis and tourist destination against the backdrop of an increasingly neoliberalized and moderately Islamic, yet secular, E.U.-aspirant Turkey. In this article, I examine through an embodied lens the complex interplay among shifting practices of belly dance, new Islamic veiling, and urban space in contemporary Istanbul. In an analysis grounded in a series of ethnographic sites that include an elite concert hall, a tourist restaurant, a dance class, a local nightclub, and a retail store, I argue for a performance-centered and gender-sensitive examination of urban gentrification that is often missed in recent political economic analyses.