"This is a wonderful book. Bronwyn Winter has done the seemingly impossible: with remarkable sure-footedness, she has led us, her lucky readers, across the rapids of the French 'headscarf debates.' We arrive on the far shore so much smarter (and careful) about nationalism, religious revivalism, secularism, cooptation, anti-racism, and feminism—and about French Muslim girls too."—Cynthia Enloe, author of The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire
"Placing the 2004 law in the context of France's colonial past and also that country's centuries-long struggles over the place of religion in public life, Winter takes us through a series of crises beginning in the late 1980s and makes sense of the positions taken by the multiple characters in this 'psychodrama' Specialists and generalists alike will appreciate that, finally, we have an analysis based on careful research and presented with an even-handed perspective."—Claire Moses, University of Maryland
"A learned and riveting account of the controversial 2004 French law reaffirming secular and republican values in the face of religious reassertion and 'hijabization.'"—Valentine M. Moghadam, Purdue University
The hijab is arguably the most discussed and controversial item of women’s clothing today. It has become the primary global symbol of female Muslim identity for Muslims and non-Muslims alike and is the focus of much debate in the confrontation between Islam and the West. Nowhere has this debate been more acute or complex than in France. In Hijab and the Republic, Bronwyn Winter provides a riveting account of the controversial 2004 French law to ban Islamic headscarves and other religious signs from public schools. While much has been written on the subject, Winter offers a unique feminist perspective, carefully delineating its political and cultural aspects. Drawing on both scholarly literature and popular commentary, she examines the headscarf debate from its inception in 1989 through fluctuations in its intensity over the 1990s to its surging significance in the wake of 9 / 11 and the consequent shift in global politics.
Bronwyn Winter teaches in the Department of French Studies at the University of Sydney, where she is program director of International and Comparative Literary Studies in the School of Languages and Cultures. She is the contributing coeditor of After Shock: September 11, 2001: Global Feminist Perspectives.
6 x 9, 436 pages