The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Politics / Edition 1

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This groundbreaking volume, written entirely by women, examines the vastly misunderstood and multilayered world of the veil. Veiling— of women, of men, and of sacred places and objects—has existed in countless cultures and religions from time immemorial. Today, veiling is a globally polarizing issue, a locus for the struggle between Islam and the West and between contemporary and traditional interpretations of Islam. But veiling was a practice long before Islam and still extends far beyond the Middle East. This book explores and examines the cultures, politics, and histories of veiling. Twenty-one gifted writers and scholars, representing a wide range of societies, religions, ages, locations, races, and accomplishments, here elucidate, challenge, and/or praise the practice. Expertly organized and introduced by Jennifer Heath, who also writes on male veiling, the essays are arranged in three parts: the veil as an expression of the sacred; the veil as it relates to the emotional and the sensual; and the veil in its sociopolitical aspects. This unique, dynamic, and insightful volume is illustrated throughout. It brings together a multiplicity of thought and experience, much of it personal, to make readily accessible a difficult and controversial subject.

Contributors: Kecia Ali, Michelle Auerbach, Sarah C. Bell, Barbara Goldman Carrel, Eve Grubin, Roxanne Kamayani Gupta, Jana M. Hawley, Jasbir Jain, Mohja Kahf, Laurene Lafontaine, Shireen Malik, Maliha Masood, Marjane Satrapi, Aisha Shaheed, Rita Stephan, Pamela K. Taylor, Ashraf Zahedi, Dinah Zeiger, Sherifa Zuhur

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Editorial Reviews

The Times
“Thoughtful [and] intelligent.”
Daily Telegraph
“This thought-provoking collection of essays goes far in moving the veil away from any singular interpretation or judgment.”
Bloomsbury Review
“Provie[s] a wide spectrum of views, traditions, feelings and issues related to the human practice of covering the head and hair.”
Journal American Academy Of Religion/ Jaar
“The approach chosen for this anthology—reflective, meditative broad, and under exclusively female authorship—is commendable and refreshing.”
Feminist Review
“A critical read for feminists and students of Women’s Studies in the United States.”
Wise (Women’s Islamic Initiative In Spirituality And Equity)
Wise (Women's Islamic Initiative In Spirituality And Equity)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520255180
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 7/2/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Heath is the author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Scimitar and the Veil: Extraordinary Women of Islam, and her writing has appeared in numerous anthologies. She has traveled extensively throughout the Muslim world and is the founder of Seeds for Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Relief Organization Midwife Training and
Infant Care program, now
International Midwife Assistance.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


1. From Her Royal Body the Robe Was Removed: The Blessings of the Veil and the Trauma of Forced Unveilings in the Middle East
Mohja Kahf
2. Shattered Vessels That Contain Divine Sparks: Unveiling Hasidic Women's Dress Code
Barbara Goldman Carrel
3. Going the Whole Nine Yards: Vignettes of the Veil in
Roxanne Kamayani Gupta
4. Out of the Cloister: Unveiling to Better Serve the Gospel
Laurene M. Lafontaine
5. The Amish Veil: Symbol of Separation and Community
Jana Hawley
6. “What is subordinated, dominates”: Mourning, Magic, Masks, and Male Veiling
Jennifer Heath
7. I Just Want to Be Me: Issues in Identity for One American Muslim Woman
Pamela K. Taylor

8. “She freed and floated on the air”: Salome and Her Dance of the Seven Veils
Shireen Malik
9. “He hath couerd my soule inwarde”: Veiling in Medieval Europe and the Early Church
Désirée G. Koslin
10. Nubo: The Wedding Veil
Sarah C. Bell
11. After Eden: The Veil as a Conduit to the Internal
Eve Grubin
12. Virtue and Sin: An Arab Christian Woman's Perspective
Rita Stephan
13. Drawing the Line at Modesty: My Place in the Order of Things
Michelle Auerbach
14. On the Road: Travels with My Hijab
Maliha Masood

15. Purdah, Patriarchy, and the Tropical Sun: Womanhood in
Jasbir Jain
16. The Veil: From Persepolis
Marjane Satrapi
17. Concealing and Revealing Female Hair: Veiling Dynamics in Contemporary Iran
Ashraf Zahedi
18. That (Afghan) Girl! Ideology Unveiled in National Geographic
Dinah Zeiger
19. Burqas and Bikinis: Islamic Dress in Newspaper Cartoons
Kecia Ali
20. Dress Codes and Modes: How Islamic Is the Veil?
Aisha Shaheed
21. From Veil to Veil: “What's in a woman's head is more important than what's on it”
Sherifa Zuhur

About the Contributors


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