Thursday, September 18, 2014
Jenny White will discuss the process by which Turkey’s national identity has been transformed over the past two decades, the subject of her latest book Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks. Turkey’s Muslim elites have mounted a powerful political and economic challenge to the country’s secularists, developing an alternative definition of the nation based on a nostalgic revival of Turkey’s Ottoman past. During this process, the meaning of Islam has undergone a radical redefinition as Islamist ideology was edged out by a personal Muslimhood. However, a generation of middle-class, globalized youth has emerged, most visibly in the 2013 Gezi protests, that rejects even this definition of the nation and that crosses secular/Islamic lines. The response has been increasing authoritarianism and nationalist revival. Turkish democracy is at a tipping point. Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks was chosen by Foreign Affairs as one of three “Best Books of 2012 on the Middle East.”
Cosponsored by the Middle East Studies Lecture Series and the Security Seminar Series.