France to Vote on Ban of Islamic Full Veil in Public: Prominent Turkish Sociologist Examines Veiling of University Women

by University of Michigan Press on July 12, 2010

As France’s Lower House of Parliament prepares to vote on a controversial bill that would ban the wearing of the full Islamic veil in public, check out University of Michigan Press title The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling, (Paperback ISBN: 978-0-472-06630-8) by prominent Turkish sociologist Nilufer Gole, who examines the veiling of young university women and the cultural cleavages between the Islamic and Western worlds.

Nilüfer Göle examines the complex relationships among modernity, religion, and gender relations in the Middle East. Her focus is on the factors that influence young women pursuing university educations in Turkey to adopt seemingly fundamentalist Islamist traditions, such as veiling, and the complex web of meanings attributed to these gender-separating practices. Veiling, a politicized practice that conceptually forces people to choose between the “modern” and the “backward,” provides an insightful way of looking at the contemporary Islam-West conflict, shedding light on the recent rise of Islamist fundamentalism in many countries and providing insight into what is a more complex phenomenon than is commonly portrayed in accounts by Western journalists.

Göle’s sociological approach, employing a number of personal interviews, allows for both a detailed case study of these young Turkish women who are turning to the tenets of fundamental Islamist gender codes, and for a broader critique of Eurocentrism and the academic literature regarding the construction of meaning. Both perspectives serve as a springboard for the launching of theoretical innovations into feminist, religious, cultural, and area studies. More

Professors: Request Exam Copy Here

(Update: French MPs Vote to Ban Full Islamic Veil in Public, July 13, 2010 on the BBC)

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