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L’Affaire du Foulard (The Scarf Affair)


by Seyla Benhabib — 2008

Our conversation about democratic civic education in the twenty-first century continues with Seyla Benhabib’s case study exploring the special challenges and opportunities afforded for citizenship education by increasing globalization in democratic societies. She analyzes the Scarf Affair, which began in France in 1989 and continues into the current century, tracing the events initiated by three Muslim high school students whose insistence on wearing headscarves to school put them into conflict first with their school and eventually the French state and judiciary. Wearing the scarves was seen as a direct challenge to the French educational system’s fundamental principle of laïcité, that is, a kind of institutional neutrality.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 107. No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 110 Number 13, 2008, p. 100-111
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18465, Date Accessed: 12/12/2017 1:40:41 AM

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About the Author
  • Seyla Benhabib
    Yale University
    E-mail Author
    SEYLA BENHABIB is the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University and Director of its Program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. She is the author of many books including The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt (1996; reissued in 2002), The Claims of Culture: Equality and Diversity in the Global Era (2002), and Another Cosmopolitanism (2006). Her work has been translated into eleven languages. She has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1996 and has presented a number of distinguished lectures including the John Seeley Memorial Lectures (Cambridge, 2002) and the Tanner Lectures (Berkeley, 2004).
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