Islam and Secularity: The Future of Europe's Public Sphere
Nilüfer Göle is Professor of Sociology at the Centre d'Études Sociologiques et Politiques Raymond Aron and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris). She is the author of Islam in Europe: The Lure of Fundamentalism and the Allure of Cosmopolitanism and editor of Islam and Public Controversy in Europe.
The Gendered Nature of the Public Sphere
This chapter discusses the gendered nature of the public sphere that characterizes secular modernization projects in Muslim-majority countries, especially in Turkey. By means of a critical reading of two novels, written in two different historical moments of secularism and Islam, it analyzes Kemalist feminism as the backbone of secular modernity in the 1920s and the feminization of political Islam in the 1980s. Turkish secularism denotes a modern way of life, namely European, calling for the emancipation of women from religion. The first novel illustrates the centrality of women both as agents and symbols of secular modernity. And the second novel heralds the emergence of new Muslim subjects and definitions of male-female intimacies that challenge the secular-feminist, but also Islamist-purist frontiers of the public sphere.