The Specters of colonialism: epistemic racialization of european muslims and Islam in Europe

Sağır, Çiğdem
Beginning in the 1990s, an increasing tension has developed between Europe and the Muslims who live there. This tension is primarily concerned with the Muslim culture and religion, and their compatibility with the supposed European values. The tension peaked after the bombing attacks of 2001, and eventually resulted in Europe declaring a ‘war on terror’ against European Muslims, with its own ways of addressing, which can be defined as an apophatic mode of address, mentioning by not mentioning, declaring by not explicitly declaring it. To properly inquire into the nature of this situation, we require an approach that can detect the various aspects and layers of this tension. This dissertation proposes to use Joan W. Scott’s symptomatic politics for this purpose, where visible behaviors are explained as symptoms of a larger hidden conflict and we are forced to ask questions to understand what is hidden. This dissertation asserts that the conflict between Europe and Muslims is symptomatic of the supposedly ‘disappeared’ colonial and racist past of Europe. Actually, colonialism and racialization have not disappeared; rather they are repressed, and now return in disguise to the ‘postcolonial’ and ‘postracist’ European context. As a psychoanalytic conceptualization, this notion of the return of the repressed is closely allied with Jacques Derrida's idea of hauntology, where the existence of the visibly inexistent and the presence of explicitly absent are analyzed by going beyond conventional classifications. Following Derrida, this study finds that the aforementioned tension is a consequence of the specters of colonialism haunting the contemporary ‘post-colonial’ context of Europe.


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Citation Formats
Ç. Sağır, “The Specters of colonialism: epistemic racialization of european muslims and Islam in Europe,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2014.