What Is Veiling?

What Is Veiling?

by Sahar Amer
What Is Veiling?

What Is Veiling?

by Sahar Amer


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Ranging from simple head scarf to full-body burqa, the veil is worn by vast numbers of Muslim women around the world. What Is Veiling? explains one of the most visible, controversial, and least understood emblems of Islam. Sahar Amer's evenhanded approach is anchored in sharp cultural insight and rich historical context. Addressing the significance of veiling in the religious, cultural, political, and social lives of Muslims, past and present, she examines the complex roles the practice has played in history, religion, conservative and progressive perspectives, politics and regionalism, society and economics, feminism, fashion, and art.

By highlighting the multiple meanings of veiling, the book decisively shows that the realities of the practice cannot be homogenized or oversimplified and extend well beyond the religious and political accounts that are overwhelmingly proclaimed both inside and outside Muslim-majority societies. Neither defending nor criticizing the practice, What Is Veiling? clarifies the voices of Muslim women who struggle to be heard and who, veiled or not, demand the right to live spiritual, personal, and public lives in dignity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469617763
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 09/02/2014
Series: Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 256
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Sahar Amer is professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Sydney.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: What Is Veiling? 1

Part I Islam, Politics, and Veiling 19

1 Understanding Veiling in Islamic Sacred Texts 21

2 What Do Progressive Muslims Say about Veiling? 38

3 Politics and Sociocultural Practices of Veiling 56

Part II Veiling in Euro-American Societies 75

4 Veils, Harems, and the Mission to Civilize 77

5 Veiling in Western Europe Today 94

6 Veiling in the United States of America Today 112

Part III Veiling in the World and Words of Women 131

7 Veiling and Feminism 133

8 Islamic Fashion, Beauty Pageants, and Muslim Dolls 148

9 Veiling through the Arts 176

Epilogue 198

Glossary Terms Referring to Veiling 201

Notes 211

Bibliography 219

Index 225

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Veiling is a difficult but timely and important topic. Sahar Amer explains that Muslims didn't invent the veil, not all Muslims veil the same way, and ideas about Muslim veiling have served and continue to serve political and polemical purposes. A vivid resource for general readers as well as students in courses on Islam and women's studies.—Kecia Ali, author of Marriage and Slavery in Early Islam

In this well written, succinct, and much needed overview of the role of veiling in the Muslim world, Sahar Amer interweaves the perspectives of Muslim women themselves, with emphasis on the many meanings attached to veiling. Given that veiling has been commonly practiced by many religions, why has the veil become so strongly associated with Islam? Why is it that Muslim women who veil are automatically assumed to be oppressed, ignorant, pious, or militant? How is it that a piece of clothing is so politically and emotionally charged? Amer answers these questions clearly over the course of this highly readable book.—Lynne Huffer, author of Are the Lips a Grave?: A Queer Feminist on the Ethics of Sex

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