Women at the Intersection of Turkish Politics, Religion, and Education: The Unexpected Path to Becoming a State-Sponsored Female Preacher
This article elucidates how increased religious educational opportunities for girls over the past few decades, sparked by Turkey’s transition from single-party rule to a multi-party political system, has fostered the development of state-sponsored female preachers (who are entrusted with giving mosque sermons and legal responsa) at the same time that contemporary Turkish politics and the vig- orously contested place of Islam, Islamic education, and practicing Muslims in an assertively secular system has impinged upon and redirected their lives in surprising ways. Analyzed through the comparative lens of successive generations of female students, the continuous contestation over the appropriate place of religion — and particularly its instruction and social visibility—amid secular state apparatuses has both opened and contracted professional opportunities for Turkey’s state-sponsored female preachers.
Comparative Islamic Studies
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