Printed Copies of the Qur’an vs. the Luh: The Racial Dilemma of the White Muslim

Key information

3:15 PM to 5:00 PM
Paul Webley Wing (Senate House)
SOAS Paul Webley Wing (Senate House), Room S113

About this event



Ezgi Gunner, University of Illinois-Urbana, Dept. of Anthropology

This talk explores the making of a multiracial Muslim world in Justice and Development Party’s Turkey. In other words, it studies the intersectionality of race and religion within Islamic humanitarianism, including, among others, a mobilization for replacing writing boards (luh) with printed copies of the Qur’an in Africa. The pious citizens of Turkey are interpellated as White Muslim by humanitarian organizations that urge them to respond to the plight of Black Muslims in Africa through donations and volunteering. Through an analysis of ethnographic cases and cultural texts, this talk discusses the dilemma of this particular racial project that stems from the contradiction between mobilizing Islamic discourses of racial egalitarianism while occupying the racial taxonomy of the 19th century European colonialism.

Ezgi Guner received her BA degree in Cultural Studies from Sabanci University, Istanbul. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation research focuses on the articulation of race and religion with global capitalism in the context of Turkey's contemporary relations with sub-Saharan Africa. With support from SSRC, Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Graduate College at UIUC, Guner conducted a multisited ethnography with business organizations, state institutions, faith-based NGOs and Islamic schools in Turkey, Tanzania, Senegal, Benin and Gambia. During Fall 2018, she was a visiting fellow in the Anthropology Department at Harvard University. Supported by the Ernst Mach Grant, she is currently a visiting fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz where she is completing her dissertation.