Jenny White

Muslim Nationalism and the new Turks

Princeton University Press, November 2012

Turkey has leapt to international prominence as an economic and political powerhouse under its elected Muslim government, and is looked upon by many as a model for other Muslim countries in the wake of the Arab Spring. This book reveals how Turkish national identity and the meanings of Islam and secularism have undergone radical changes in today’s Turkey, and questions whether the Turkish model should be viewed as a success story or cautionary tale.
Jenny White shows how Turkey’s Muslim elites have mounted a powerful political and economic challenge to the country’s secularists, developing an alternative definition of the nation based on a nostalgic revival of Turkey’s Ottoman past. These Muslim nationalists have pushed aside the Republican ideal of a nation defined by purity of blood, language, and culture. They see no contradiction in pious Muslims running a secular state, and increasingly express their Muslim identity through participation in economic networks and a lifestyle of Islamic fashion and leisure. For many younger Turks, religious and national identities, like commodities, have become objects of choice and forms of personal expression.
This provocative book traces how Muslim nationalists blur the line between secular and Islamic, supporting globalization and political liberalism, yet remain mired in authoritarianism, intolerance, and cultural norms hostile to minorities and women.

Selected Works

e.g. Fiction, History, Magazine Articles, etc. goes here
***Foreign Affairs: Best Books of 2012 on the Middle East*** What lies behind Turkey’s leap to international prominence under its Muslim government as an economic powerhouse and political player? Can Turkey be a model for the Arab Spring? The author approaches these issues historically and comparatively. She shows that the answers lie not just in the details of elections and political strategies, but in deeper cultural structures that make up the nation.
essays
My reflections on places I have traveled, people I have known, and subjects that interest me, from the secret life of cancer to ice cream making.
Fiction
A bank robbery and illegal weapons lead Kamil Pasha to uncover a plan to massacre an entire valley.
Nineteenth-century Istanbul thrills in this page-turner about a conspiracy to steal an ancient reliquary whose secret could change the world.
A powerful blend of murder, mystery and romance set in the Ottoman court.
Essay
A humorous look at the adventures of a scholar turned novelist.