"It is high time that discussions of the veil be engaged in by women of color scholars who have an intimate familiarity with a range of issues connected to veiling."—Falguni A. Sheth, author of Unruly Women: Race, Neocolonialism, and the Hijab
"A timely and much-needed intervention in the emerging scholarship on women and Islam. This rich collection of essays ‘unveils’ the intricate politics of the representation of Muslim women across several creative mediums through fascinating interdisciplinary approaches."—Haris Qadeer, University of Delhi
"An excellent erudite argument on the representation and misrepresentation of the hijab, the stereotypes that guide Western discourse, and encourages the disengagement from an essentialist understanding of the hijab."—Feroza Jussawalla, author of Muslim Women’s Writing from across South and Southeast Asia
Discussions surrounding the veil often run along essentialist and ahistorical lines, associating Islam with oppression, shame, and honor. Contributing to these stereotypes, the media in both the East and the West obsessively condemn or valorize practices of veiling. In Veil Obsessed, Umme Al-wazedi and Afrin Zeenat complicate and challenge the dialogue around the veil, exploring its symbolic, religious, and cultural significance. Scholars from a variety of fields analyze and critique use of the veil in literature, film, television, and the fine arts.
Considering the multiple perceptions of the veil, this volume shows that the meaning of hijab can be natural or constructed, real or metaphorical, and religious or political, when it is presented through the media, in the teachings of Islam, and in upholding it as a national symbol of a nation-state. There are inherent tensions among the ideas concerning the power of hijab. Does wearing it give agency to women or does it represent oppression, thereby creating and perpetuating stereotypes? How an individual sees their relationship with the self, family and community, and the nation-state dictates their choice of whether to wear the veil. In exploring the wide range of portrayals, the editors pose critical questions about perceptions of the veil and the dangers of ignoring its multiplicity.
Umme Al-wazedi is professor of postcolonial literature in the Department of English at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.
Afrin Zeenat is professor of English at Dallas College in Dallas, Texas.
6 x 9, 240 pages