Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

P. Edward Haley

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Rights Information

© 2012 Meghan Henkel


In 2004, a French law went into effect banning girls in state sponsored schools from wearing the hijab, a Muslim head covering. While the law also banned the Jewish kippa and large cross necklaces from being worn in public schools, the hijab took center stage in what became a worldwide media frenzy. The ban of the hijab as well as more recent laws that banned full face veils in all public spaces and a ban on Muslim prayer being performed in the street show a growing divide in the French populace. This thesis argues that these recent laws, as well as the rise in popularity of the far rightwing political party the National Front are evidence that France is moving away from its civic nationalist traditions and adopting a more ethnic based nationalism.