Clothing And The Debate On Secular National Identity In Turkey

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Clothing And The Debate On Secular National Identity In Turkey
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Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations says
Clothing has been one of the most debated and contested issues in Turkey since the late 19th century. With the advent of organised anti-veiling campaigns and the introduction of laws regulating male headgear and religious clothing from the 1920s onwards, it particularly became a battleground on which various actors came to debate the issues of secularism, modernisation and women's role in society under the new republican regime. As such, it can be argued that the debate on clothing in the formative years of the republic has constituted the historical context within which the meanings of certain garments have been contested in Turkey until today. This talk will look at this formative debate and will particularly focus on two interventions in clothing, namely the anti-veiling campaigns and the reform of religious clothing in early Turkish republic. By discussing these two cases, the talk will analyse how and why a certain type of clothing came to symbolise the new modern Turkish identity, and how this identity and the symbolic importance of dress associated with it have continued to shape the main parameters of political debates in modern Turkey.
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By: Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations