Television broadcasting has played a significant role in the creation of a public governed by norms of secular reason in Turkey. The state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) held a monopoly on broadcasting until the liberalization of television and radio broadcasting in the 1990s. . . . TRT represented “religion” only in the form of limited mosque sermon broadcasts on officially designated religious holidays, as well as a 15-30 minute show called “The World of Faith” (“İnanç Dünyası”) played every Thursday evening to mark the beginning of Islam’s day of special worship on Friday. The overall effect of TRT’s demarcating such programming as “religious”—and its dealing with issues only related to “personal faith” in these shows (as emphasized in its title)—was to subtract “religion” from other factors regulating the public lives of Turkish citizens (such as education, politics, high culture, and so on) and to reinforce the notion that Islam is primarily a matter of “faith.”
Posts Tagged ‘Joan Wallach Scott’
At a March 2010 conference, “Gendering the Divide: Conflicts at the Border of Religion and the Secular” (sponsored by Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict), I had the great fortune to speak on a panel with groundbreaking cultural historian and gender theorist Joan Wallach Scott, the Harold F. Linder Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. The conference was the fourth and final meeting of ASU’s Ford Foundation-funded project on “Public Religion, the Secular, and Democracy.” In 2010-2011, Scott will lead the year-long seminar “Secularism” at the Institute for Advanced Study’s School of Social Science. Scott is the author of numerous influential essays and books, including, most recently, the timely and highly praised The Politics of the Veil. At the conclusion of the ASU conference, Scott and I met for the following wide-ranging conversation . . .
Last Thursday, Tariq Ramadan addressed his first American audience in over five years. Before a crowd that filled the historic Great Hall at Cooper Union, Ramadan, alongside panelists Dalia Mogahed, George Packer, Joan Wallach Scott, and moderator Jacob Weisberg, discussed his understanding of the unique position of the Western Muslim, stressing his view of the compatibility of that which is “Western” and that which is “Islamic,” and emphasizing his faith in the creative potential of Western Muslims to elaborate and inhabit a distinctly Western Islamic tradition. At once a celebration of intellectual freedom and a small victory over ideological exclusion, the event afforded Ramadan the opportunity to present in person his sometimes controversial stances and to respond to questions he has frequently been asked concerning his family background and his personal views on issues associated with gay and women’s rights.