Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey

Bodies, Places, and Time

2005
Author:

Alev Çınar

Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey

A surprising look at the relation between Islam and modernity

Alev Çınar's examination of contemporary Turkey, which stands at the threshold of East and West, of religious and secular nationalism, explores modernity through daily practices and the social construction of identity and political agency in relation to nationalism, secularism, and Islam. Using local details and —including an intriguing discussion of veiling—Çınar reveals modernity as a transformative intervention in bodies, places, and times.

This book has significant implications for the changing nature of European society and for the role of Islam in the contemporary world.

Dale Eickelman, coeditor (with Armando Salvatore) of Public Islam and the Common Good

What would an Islamic modernism look like? The question is a pressing one, as cultures rebel against modernity in its almost exclusively European forms. Alev Çınar’s groundbreaking examination of contemporary Turkey, which stands at the threshold of East and West, of religious and secular nationalism, explores modernity through daily practices and the social construction of identity and political agency in relation to nationalism, secularism, and Islam.

Focusing on developments of the 1990s, Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey argues that Islamist ideology generated an alternative modernization project, which applied the same strategies and techniques as that of the modernizing state to produce and institutionalize its own version of an equally thorough nationalist program. Using local details and debates—including an intriguing discussion of veiling as symbolic of both the “liberation” of Western appearance and the Islamists’s struggle to rescue their nation’s culture—Çınar reveals modernity as a transformative intervention in bodies, places, and times.

Bringing a much-needed critical theory approach to bear on the politics of an Islamic nation, Çınar’s work introduces a new way of conceptualizing modernity based on the analysis of a non-Western context.

Public Worlds Series, volume 14

Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey

Alev Çınar is assistant professor of political science at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey.

Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey

This book has significant implications for the changing nature of European society and for the role of Islam in the contemporary world.

Dale Eickelman, coeditor (with Armando Salvatore) of Public Islam and the Common Good

Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey is a significant intervention into persisting orientalist discourses about the incompatibilities of Islamism, secularism, and modernity in the post-9/11 geopolitical context. Çinar’s argument for ‘Islamic modernism’ contributes to a growing literature that attempts to rethink modernities in Muslim societies and, more broadly, in the non-Western, postcolonial world. Çinar’s analysis is innovative in its introduction of the everyday as a site of politics. Çinar’s argument for Islamic modernity explores questions that are important for understanding Islamism anywhere in the world. A welcome addition for students not only of Turkey and Muslim societies but also of modernity and politics of the everyday.

Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Çinar adds depth to what has often been treated superficially, and she sheds new light on grand questions about the interaction between modernity and Islam.

Millennium

Provides insights into the political state of contemporary Turkey. Recommended.

Choice

Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey offers a fresh and prolific perspective on modernity in nonwestern contexts to an interdisciplinary audience. With its attention to detail, theoretical sophistication, and creative approach, Çinar’s contribution is a welcome addition not only to scholarship on Turkish modernity, but also to a growing body of works on the intersections of gender and space.

New Perspectives on Turkey

Modernity, Islam, and Secularism is an engaging discussion of the Turkish state’s methods of implementing state ideology during two distinct periods of its history since its founding in 1923. Examining the decades of the 1920s and the 1990s. Çinar, an assistant professor of political science at Bilkent University in Ankara, fruitfully builds on wide array of disciplines, including postcolonial studies, anthropology, history, literary criticism, and political science, and presents her findings in a form accessible to graduate students and perhaps eager undergraduates. Çinar has presented a thought-provoking analysis of Turkish state modernization that urges us to rethink the accepted paradigm that modernization in Turkey has simply been the story of an imported and thus alien ideology without any organic roots in the political terrain of the Republic of Turkey.

Perspectives on Political Science

A must-read for every student of religion and politics in Republican Turkey. It can be further recommended to a broader audience interested in the interaction and nationalist discourses in the context of the modern nation state.

Contemporary Islam

A valuable contribution to the observation of the kaleidoscopic richness of Islamist politics in Turkey.

International Journal of Middle East Studies

Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1 Performative Politics and the Public Gaze
2 Clothing the National Body: Islamic Veiling and Secular Unveiling
3 Cities, Squares, and Statues: The Use of Public Space in the Making of the Nation
4 Performing the Nation: Public Contestations of National History

Conclusion

Notes
Bibliography

Index