A Transformed Kemalist Islam or a New Islamic Civic Morality?: A Study of "Religious Culture and Morality" Textbooks in the Turkish High School Curricula
- Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Duke University Press
- Volume 29, Number 3, 2009
- pp. 381-397
- Additional Information
This article discusses the meaning of the formulation of a new Turkish civic morality infused with Islam in contemporary Turkey through a content analysis of the 1995 and 2007–08 editions of Religious Culture and Morality course textbooks used in high school curricula. I argue that this course, while maintaining continuity with the republic’s diffusion of national religious morality through a revised version of Islam, referred to as “Kemalist Islam,” concretizes in its recent syllabus the consequences of the re-Islamization of the Turkish public sphere since the 1990s.
This article asks questions about the relationship between secularism, citizenship, and Islam in contemporary Turkey. I argue that the “privatized religious belief” that Kemalist secularism tried to propagate did not result in reinforcing individualism in Turkish society. Rather, it was thought to provide a basis for a civic morality reinforcing the holistic spirit of Turkish nationalism, which subordinates the individual to society. My research tries to figure out in what sense the content of Kemalist Islam, once the only legitimate religiosity taught in national education, changed with the modifications and whether Kemalist Islam loses its centrality in the definition of citizen identity, to the advantage of a new Islamic morality with the re-Islamization of the Turkish public sphere.