Contested secularism in Turkey and Iran1

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Political developments involving religion in Turkey and Iran over the last century do not fall easily into categories available to Western observers. This chapter explains why this is the case, and proposes an alternative account of religio-political developments in Turkey and Iran. What we are witnessing in Turkey and Iran is the politics of secularism. It analyses the consequences of these secularist epistemologies and in the process contributes to ‘a rethinking of the historiographic conventions that have bracketed histories’ of Turkey and Iran. What is described as ‘religious revival’ in these countries is actually a public struggle over authoritative designations of the secular imposed by Kemalists in Turkey and the Shah in Iran. Like Turkey, Iran also has witnessed attempts, most notably in 1978-79, to contest authoritative forms of secularism authorized and regulated by state authorities. The chapter has shown that contrary to this logic the rise of religious identification, actors and movements in Turkey and Iran in past decades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContesting Secularism
Subtitle of host publicationComparative Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781317160243
ISBN (Print)9781409457404
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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