Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019, Series: Gender and Islam

“With the rise to power of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the early 2000s in Turkey, the headscarf that used be looked down upon by the secular middle and upper classes moved to the mainstream. It has since become a symbol of desirable womanhood. This development has pushed Turkey’s secular feminists, who had been critical of the headscarf ban, to the margins.

This book is the first to trace this new phase of conservative gender politics by examining the images of women’s headscarves across secular and Islamic news media. Based on the analysis of photographs and the columns of conservative women journalists, the book sheds light on how the AKP is transforming the image of womanhood. It also identifies the rise of the conservative female journalist as an important phenomenon in the country. Esra Özcan problematizes designators such as “Islamist women” or “Islamic feminists” and instead aims to understand these women in terms of their commitment to right-wing activism and politics, which has so far been ignored. An original contribution to feminist scholarship on Muslim women, this book draws on the unique perspectives of Visual Culture and Communication Studies.”

Esra Özcan is Professor of Practice in the Department of Communication at Tulane University, New Orleans. She has published in various books and journals including Feminist Approaches to Media Theory and Research and Introduction to Women’s Studies: A Reader as well as the European Journal of CommunicationFeminist Media Studies; and Popular Communication. She received her PhD in Communication Studies from Jacobs University Bremen in Germany.


List of Figures and Tables
Preface and Acknowledgements
Chapter 1: Old Versus New Turkey
Chapter 2: Headscarf as a Contested Terrain in Turkish Media and Politics
Chapter 3: Transformations of the Representations of the Headscarf in Religious and Secular Newspapers
Chapter 4: The Rise of the Conservative Female Journalist and the Mainstreaming of the Headscarf
Chapter 5: Loss of Sisterhood: Challenges for the Progressive Feminist Movement in Turkey
Chapter 6: Conclusion – Towards a New Gender Equilibrium