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

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University of California Press, 2008 - Political Science - 346 pages
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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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Contents

Introduction JENNIFER HEATH
1
PART ONE
25
PART TWO
137
PART THREE
229
Epilogue
319
About the Contributors
323
Index
331
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About the author (2008)

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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