This article below, “How Muslim Students’ Knowledge of Christianity Is Related to Their Attitudes to Mainstream Australia and Australians: A National Survey” originally appeared in Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760), an international, open access journal with rapid peer-review, which publishes works from a wide range of fields, including anthropology, economics, law, linguistics, education, geography, history, political science, psychology and sociology. Social Sciences is published quarterly online by MDPI.


Abstract: Outlined below are selected results of a 5-year long national survey which investigated the knowledge, values and attitudes of 430 Year 11 and 12 Muslim students in eight Muslim High schools towards the mainstream Australia and Australians society. The findings reflect a wide spectrum of responses with a strong implication that much work is needed to bring about an appropriate degree of adjustment. Providing awareness sessions to students and parents—both non-Muslims and Muslims—which address critical social, religious and cultural issues including stereotyping and inclusivity, is key.

Social media are abuzz with daily articles asking the same questions: Do Muslims find it harder than other migrants to integrate, or is the bigotry of some that perpetuates it? Is Islamophobia the flipside of inherent racism that some Australians lashed in stages against Aboriginals, Greeks, Italians, Chinese, Africans and Middle Easterners? Or perhaps it is the cultural and historical (and religious!) differences between the Christian and Muslim communities worldwide that are too wide to make a complete reconciliation? Why do religious minorities in Muslim countries have fewer rights than Muslims do in Western societies? Do Muslims need reform and reflection similar to those of Catholic Priests? Are Muslim and Australian identities compatible or are they mutually exclusive? And lastly, are the schools doing enough in fostering goodwill and inter-communal relationship!

I will not pretend to have set theories or clinical remedies to these questions. I will, however, address the government’s key question. What kinds of programs and initiatives are needed to identify, and eventually modify falsehoods and incorrect information that precipitates attitudes to mainstream Australia?

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I would like to announce the publication of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies under the direction of a new editorial team that consists of miriam cooke, Frances Hasso, and I and now published by Duke University Press: In addition to peer reviewed research articles and book reviews, the new issue features review essays (in “Review” section) and showcases activists’ and artists’ works and scholarly interventions (in “Thirdspace” section).

There are currently two Call for Papers: for a themed section on “The Gender and Sexuality of Militarization, War, and Violence” (deadline June 15) and for ‘Thirdspace’ section on “Languages and Gender and Sexuality” (deadline July 15). You can see more information about these CFPs below and on the journal’s website: Continue reading

by Banu Gökarıksel and Anna Secor for POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY (VOL. 46, MAY 2015, PAGES 21-20) * Creative Commons license: 

  • Highlights
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • Post-secularism and the problem of pluralism
  • “There has to be respect”: the demands of pluralism
  • “That’s a matter of attitude”: the limits of pluralism in public space
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Endnotes


•The project of post-secularism hinges on the form of pluralism in the public sphere.
•Findings are based on focus groups with devout women in Istanbul in 2013.
•Respect mediates relations with others across public/private spaces but has limits.
•Devout women may be uncomfortable with other lifestyles (alcohol) in shared spaces.
•Post-secularism is not an achieved state but a project, a struggle with its demands.


The concept of post-secularism has come to signify a renewed attention to the role of religion within secular, democratic public spheres. Central to the project of post-secularism is the integration of religious ways of being within a public arena shared by others who may practice different faiths, practice the same faith differently, or be non-religious in outlook. As a secular state within which Sunni Islam has played an increasingly public role, Turkey is a prime site for studying new configurations of religion, politics, and public life. Our 2013 research with devout Sunni Muslim women in Istanbul demonstrates how the big questions of post-secularism and the problem of pluralism are posed and navigated within the quotidian geographies of homes, neighborhoods, and city spaces. Women grapple with the demands of a pluralistic public sphere on their own terms and in ways that traverse and call into question the distinction between public and private spaces. While mutual respect mediates relations with diverse others, women often find themselves up against the limits of respect, both in their intimate relations with Alevi friends and neighbors, and in the anonymous spaces of the city where they sometimes find themselves subject to secular hostility. The gendered moral order of public space that positions devout headscarf-wearing women in a particular way within diverse city spaces where others may be consuming alcohol or wearing revealing clothing further complicates the problem of pluralism in the city. We conclude that one does not perhaps arrive at post-secularism so much as struggle with its demands.

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Hayv Kahraman’s artworks are featured on the three covers of JMEWS 2015. She discusses her art in this brief excerpt from her essay “Collective Performance: Gendering Memories of Iraq” (Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies; Volume 11, Number 1, March 2015, pp. 117-123, Duke University Press) One of the co-editors of JMEWS 2015, miriam cooke, said “Kahraman’s art is changing the look of the journal.” 



Let me share with you my memories.

I remember once when my dad was driving in downtown Bagdad and we passed a narrow street that led into a larger square. I was in the front seat of the car and pointed up toward the demolished building and asked him, “What happened?”

There was a foggy air around this once-tall building—now half its size—that made me recall the many dust storms that occupied the city every now and then.

“It is because of the Iran-Iraq War,” he said with a low voice, as we turned the corner.

That was the first time I had seen destruction of that magnitude.

I remember clinging to my mother in the basement of my uncle’s house in Suleymania in northern Iraq. I remember my relatives curled around candles, waiting for the loud noises outside to stop. Despite my fear, a sense of solidarity prevailed: I was surrounded by my family, and somehow I felt protected as we all sang and played games in the dark. Continue reading

Evaluating a Complex Landscape


Zeynep Tufekci
Zeynep Tufekci

SUMMARY: Recently, social movements have shaken countries around the world. Most of these movements have thoroughly integrated digital connectivity into their toolkits, especially for organizing, gaining publicity, and effectively communicating. Governments, too, have been adapting to this new reality where controlling the flow of information provides new challenges. This article examines the multiple, often novel, ways in which social media both empowers new digitally-fueled movements and contributes to their apparent weaknesses in seemingly paradoxically ways. This article also integrates the evolving governmental response into its analysis. Social media’s empowering aspects are real and profound, but these impacts do not play out in a simple, linear fashion. The ability to scale-up quickly using digital infrastructure has empowered movements to embrace their horizontalist and leaderless aspirations, which in turn have engendered new weak- nesses after the initial phase of street actions ebbs. Movements without organizational depth are often unable to weather such transitions. While digital media create more possibilities to evade censorship, many governments have responded by demonizing and attacking social media, thus contributing to polarized environments in which dissidents have access to a very different set of information compared to those more loyal to the regime. This makes it hard to create truly national campaigns of dissent. This article provides an overview of this complex, evolving environment with examples ranging from the Tahrir Square protests in Egypt to the Occupy movement.

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