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Sarah Fischer

Political Science

Sarah Fischer’s research investigates the relationship among secularism, gender, and democratization in the Middle East; her dissertation utilizes the Turkish headscarf issue as a case study. She examines how Turkish secularism came to focus on women’s bodies, particularly via the headscarf. Furthermore, she looks at the impact that laws nominally enacted to protect secularism have had on the 64% of Turkish women who wear the headscarf and are thus prohibited from entering schools and government buildings. Her research begins to delineate the impact these bans have had on women’s education and political activism.
Originally from Iowa, Sarah has lived in Istanbul and Ankara. She has won numerous nationally-competitive grants and has been invited to speak on gender issues in the Middle East and Turkish politics. Sarah has worked at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics, as an aide to a state legislator, and in the private sector.


MA, Government, American University
BA, Political Science, Iowa State University
BS, English (literature), Iowa State University

Favorite Spot on Campus
The library
Book Currently Reading
The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
Languages Spoken
English, Turkish, Azeri
Contact Info

Send email to Sarah Fischer