Completed Projects

The Veiling Fashion Industry — funded by the National Science Foundation

Photo by Anna Secor
Photo by Banu Gokariksel

My research on shopping malls revealed the symbolic exclusion of Islamic dress from this space despite the assertive presence of very fashionably veiled women and the mushrooming veiling-fashion boutiques and department stores across Istanbul. Beginning in the 1990s, a new, increasingly visible and rapidly growing veiling fashion industry has emerged in Turkey (and elsewhere in the ‘Muslim world’). Turkish producers of veiling-fashion have begun to export their products to retail outlets in the Middle East, Europe, and North America. Funded by the National Science Foundation, I collaborated with Anna Secor in a research project that investigated the new veiling-fashion industry based in Turkey. We are particularly interested in the intersection of Islamism and capitalism and its geopolitical and cultural implications. This project analyzed: a) the scope, history, and geography of the veiling-fashion industry headquartered in Turkey by tracing out the circuits of production, design, sales, and finance that characterize the industry; and b) the implications of the production, sale, and consumption of veiling-fashion for geopolitics, geo-economics, and identity formation in a transnational context.

Selected publications:

Banu Gökarıksel and Anna Secor, 2014. "The Veil, Desire, and the Gaze: Turning the Inside Out," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 40, 1: 177-200.

Banu Gökarıksel and Anna Secor, 2013. “You can’t know how they are inside”: The Ambivalence of Veiling and Discourses of the Other in Turkey,” in Peter Hopkins, Lily Kong, and Elizabeth Olson eds. Religion and Place: Landscape, Politics, and Piety. Springer Press: Dordrecht, 95-114.

Banu Gökarıksel and Anna Secor, 2012. “‘Even I Was Tempted:’ The Moral Ambivalence and Ethical Practice of Veiling-Fashion in Turkey,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 102, 4: 847-862. DOI:10.1080/00045608.2011.601221

Banu Gökarıksel and Anna Secor, 2010. “Between Fashion and Tesettür: Marketing and Consuming Women’s Islamic Dress,” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, 6, 3: 118-148.

Banu Gökarıksel and Anna Secor, 2010. “Islamic-ness in the Life of a Commodity: Veiling-Fashion in Turkey,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35, 3: 313-333. DOI: 10.1111/j1475-5661.2010.00384.x.

Neoliberal Globalization, Modernity, and Identity

This project has two goals: 1) to examine the relationship between political economy and urban space by studying how policies and practices of neoliberalization and global city formation have produced new urban spaces, 2) to analyze social practices and cultural difference produced in and by these new spaces. This work is mainly based on my dissertation and masters thesis and primarily focuses on the new and distinctly constructed spaces of shopping malls in Istanbul. This project also includes a parallel analysis of the case of Jakarta where I have conducted supplementary fieldwork research. My ethnographic data consists of over one hundred and forty interviews I conducted in these two cities between January 2000 and June 2001 and in Istanbul in 1996, in addition to an archival research of city government publications and web sites.

Sawyer Seminar on Diversity and Conformity in Muslim Societies: Historical Coexistence and Contemporary Struggles — funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation (2009-2010)

Muslim societies throughout history have been notable in their diversity and tolerance; intermittent “reform” projects, most notably modern political movements, and current military conflicts have sought to impose uniformity on top of this diversity. In this Seminar I am collaborating with Sarah Shields (History, UNC) to examine the tension between diversity and conformity in contemporary Muslim societies. We analyze the historical record to gain new insights about the present through an integrated, multidisciplinary exploration of three topics: the impact of decolonization and subsequent rise of nationalist and Salafi movements; movements to promote uniformity in physical spaces and in vocal expression considered sacred to Islam; and the treatment of those perceived to be outside the mainstream of Muslim societies.