Jenny White

Jenny White is an associate professor of anthropology at Boston University and the author most recently of The Abyssinian Proof. Her blog is Kamil Pasha.

Posts by Jenny White:

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Turkey’s coup by court

Running like a geological fault beneath Turkey is a long-standing split between the popularly elected government and the state. The elected government (at present dominated by the Islam-influenced Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish acronym AKP) is at odds with the state, which includes the military, judiciary, and other administrative institutions. Today the country is face to face with what many see as a judicial coup d’etat as the Constitutional Court deliberates whether or not to ban the popularly elected ruling party and bring down the government. This decision by seven judges (the minimum needed to convict) will change Turkey’s future. […]

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Monday, July 21st, 2008

Does tolerance require struggle?

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im’s erudite and thought-provoking book Islam and The Secular State provides a clear-sighted argument made from within the Islamic tradition for a state formation that allows Islamic beliefs and culture to enter the public domain through politics (as one of many rationally contested visions) and thereby influence the laws of the land. The keys to An-Na’im’s vision are Islamic morality and civic reason, both of which, in his interpretation, ensure a shared respect for constitutionalism, citizenship and human rights, and a neutral, secular state that provides an even playing field for public debate and makes sure that non-democratic instincts are kept in check. An-Na’im’s utopian vision stumbles here, however, in failing to provide any mechanisms for achieving its desired outcomes beyond good will, morality, and reason. […]

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Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

New freedoms in Turkey — for whom?

Turkey’s ban of the headscarf on university campuses — rather than the headscarf itself — has become a serious impediment to women’s participation in economic and professional life. Three-quarters of Turkey’s female population covers in some fashion. The ruling Muslim-inflected Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish acronym AKP) made a deal this week with the nationalist MHP in parliament to secure enough votes to eliminate the ban. […]

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