November 26, 2012 By

Hijab: Bibliographical Sources

I stick to the phrase ‘semantic versatility’ in the book Veil Unveiled by Faegheh Shirazi to use textual discourses on veiling. Hijab does not have a single meaning. It does not a single use, either. It has various significations: that of freedom, modesty, traditional elegance, oppression, ignorance, political rebellion, exposition of identity etc. There are books which reflect all of these significations. And I have compiled them.


In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom

by Qanta ahmed

“In this stunningly written book, a Western trained Muslim doctor brings alive what it means for a woman to live in the Saudi Kingdom. I\’ve rarely experienced so vividly the shunning and shaming, racism and anti-Semitism, but the surprise is how Dr. Ahmed also finds tenderness at the tattered edges of extremism, and a life-changing pilgrimage back to her Muslim faith.” – Gail Sheehy. The decisions that change your life are often the most impulsive ones. Unexpectedly denied a visa to remain in the United States, Qanta Ahmed, a young British Muslim doctor, becomes an outcast in motion. On a whim, she accepts an exciting position in Saudi Arabia. This is not just a new job; this is a chance at adventure in an exotic land she thinks she understands, a place she hopes she will belong. What she discovers is vastly different. The Kingdom is a world apart, a land of unparralled contrast. She finds rejection and scorn in the places she believed would most embrace her, but also humor, honesty, loyalty and love. And for Qanta, more than anything, it is a land of opportunity. A place where she discovers what it takes for one woman to recreate herself in the land of invisible women. (20080801)
• Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc. (September 1, 2008)
• ISBN-10: 1402210876


The Veil Unveiled: Hijab in Modern Culture

By Faegheh Shirazi 

This provocative book demonstrates that the veil, the garment known in Islamic cultures as the hijab, holds within its folds a semantic versatility that goes far beyond current cliches and homogenous representations. Whether seen as erotic or as romantic, a symbol of oppression or a sign of piety, modesty, or purity, the veil carries thousands of years of religious, sexual, social, and political significance.
Publisher University Press of Florida, 2001
ISBN 0813020840, 9780813020846

Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith

By  Emma Tarlo

Muslims in Britain and cosmopolitan cities throughout the West are increasingly choosing to express their identity and faith through dress, whether by wearing colourful headscarves, austere black garments or creative new forms of Islamic fashion. Why is dress such an important issue for Muslims? Why is it such a major topic of media interest and international concern?

This timely and important book cuts through media stereotypes of Muslim appearances, providing intimate insights into what clothes really mean to the people who design and wear them. It examines how different ideas of fashion, politics, faith, freedom, beauty, modesty and cultural diversity are articulated by young British Muslims as they seek out clothes which best express their identities, perspectives and concerns. It also explores the wider social and political effects of their clothing choices on the development of transnational cultural formations and multicultural urban spaces.

Based on contemporary ethnographic research, the book is an essential read for students and scholars of religion, sociology, cultural studies, anthropology and fashion as well as anyone interested in cultural diversity and the changing face of cosmopolitan cities throughout the world.

Publisher: Berg Publishers; First Edition edition (March 30, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1845204336

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

Edited by Jennifer Heath

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

Publisher: University of California Press
ISBN-10: 0520255186

The Politics of the Veil (The Public Square)

By Joan Wallach Scott

Joan W. Scott\’s book on the headscarf controversies (*affaires des foulards*) in France over the past two decades is one of the best works of social theory that I have read in recent years. In clear, accessible prose, Scott lays out an incisive analysis of the motivations for and consequences of the headscarf ban in French public schools. Furthermore, although the controversies constitute a relatively recent phenomenon, Scott (a historian by training) does an admirable job of contextualizing the debate by presenting the colonial, religious, and philosophical sources of French national identity. The result is a nuanced and compelling study of contemporary French society and the supposed “threat” posed to it by Muslim immigrants.\r\rThe great virtue of this book is its analysis of the paradoxes of religion and secularism that have been revealed by the French government\’s prohibition of the headscarf (strategically referred to as the more oppressive-sounding “veil” by supporters) in school. In Scott\’s careful attention to media coverage of the controversies and the political and philosophical discourses of pro-ban figures, she reveals a surprising degree of chauvinism in the political ideals of French universalism; of intolerance in France\’s lauded defense of “abstract individualism” as the basis for citizenship; and of patriarchal authority in certain French feminists\’ insistence that any wearing of the “veil” is inherently oppressive and degrading of females. In short, where pro-ban figures (from conservative politicians to feminist intellectuals) rail against the intolerance, “backwardness,” and authoritarian nature of global Islam (as symbolized by the “veil”), Scott notes a fearful trend toward “absolutist secularism” and an uncompromisingly hostile stance toward cultural difference (where *intranational* [within France] social, class, and ethnic/racial differences are elided by “clash of civilizations” discourse — Western secularism pit against global Islam).\r\rOn the other hand, opponents of the ban as well as some heardscarf-wearing girls (through quoted testimony) reveal the extent to which the “veil” actually serves a strategic, even empowering, purpose in everyday life: a way for young women to negotiate their gender, spiritual, and political identities in woefully underfunded schools in the poorest sections of major French cities. In other words, in already stigmatizing environments, young women wear headscarves as a means of expressing fidelity to cultural traditions, signaling attachment to their family, and/or asserting individual dignity through spiritual development. In all cases, the headscarf is a symbol of survival and social well-being — the very things the state claims to protect under its obtuse, heavy-handed ban.\r\r*The Politics of the Veil* does more than outline the French government\’s hypocrisy in dealing with social and religious minorities. It is a well-written, well-argued case for the need to recognize the interdependence of religion and secularism in Western democracies. I recommend this book highly to scholars and general readers of modern Europe, contemporary politics, and social and cultural theory.
Publisher: Princeton University Press (August 2, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0691147981

Pedagogies of Deveiling: Muslim Girls and the Hijab Discourse (Critical Constructions, Studies on Education and Society)

By Manal Hamzeh

Manal Hamzeh’s book, Pedagogies of deveiling: muslim girls & the hijab discourse, presents an exploration of a gendering discourse, the hijab (veil) discourse, and how it was negotiated by four girls who self-identified as muslims. Pedagogies of deveiling emerged over a period of three years writing up a 14 months long study in which Hamzeh collaborated with four muslim girls in two US southwestern border towns between October 2005 and December 2006. This book stems from the stories of these four muslim girls weaved with Hamzeh’s stories and perspectives as arabyyah-muslimah, the main researcher in the study-an “insider/in-betweener” educator/researcher who is literate in the cultural/linguistic/historical nuances critical in working with Muslim girls and their communities. Pedagogies of deveiling offers an alternative approach to research and pedagogy with muslim girls in which the taken-for-granted hijabs in the sacred text and their inscriptions on the bodies of these girls are deveiled, or problematized, rethought, questioned, and countered. As such, what this book offers is first critical to muslim girls themselves because it shatters the phobia and the impossibility of reinterpreting of some canonical Islamic sacred texts in relation to the hijabs and gender. Finally, in this book, Dr. Manal Hamzeh offers a vision for how the sacred text reinterpreted by critical feminist epistemologies may represent a curriculum that is open to critique and holds potential for change towards justice. With this, Dr. Hamzeh calls upon researchers and educators to open spaces for creativity and collaborate with muslim girls in order to, 1) navigate the multiplicity and fluidity of their subjectivities implicated by intersecting discourses in their lives, and 2) honor their choices while supporting them to negotiate the thought-of as fixed Islamic values that may jeopardize their chances of any learning opportunity. This a call to work with muslim girls as theorizers of possibilities and as the main agents of change in their own lives. This is a call to open with muslim girls opportunities to practice their agency in unpacking and challenging normative discourses in their lives, not exclusive to the hijab discourse This is a call for opening spaces of struggle and uprising and cultivating moments of meaning and shifts of consciousness.

Publisher: Information Age Publishing (March 14, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1617357227

A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America
By Leila Ahmed

In Cairo in the 1940s, Leila Ahmed was raised by a generation of women who never dressed in the veils and headscarves their mothers and grandmothers had worn. To them, these coverings seemed irrelevant to both modern life and Islamic piety. Today, however, the majority of Muslim women throughout the Islamic world again wear the veil. Why, Ahmed asks, did this change take root so swiftly, and what does this shift mean for women, Islam, and the West?When she began her study, Ahmed assumed that the veil\’s return indicated a backward step for Muslim women worldwide. What she discovered, however, in the stories of British colonial officials, young Muslim feminists, Arab nationalists, pious Islamic daughters, American Muslim immigrants, violent jihadists, and peaceful Islamic activists, confounded her expectations. Ahmed observed that Islamism, with its commitments to activism in the service of the poor and in pursuit of social justice, is the strain of Islam most easily and naturally merging with western democracies\’ own tradition of activism in the cause of justice and social change. It is often Islamists, even more than secular Muslims, who are at the forefront of such contemporary activist struggles as civil rights and women\’s rights. Ahmed\’s surprising conclusions represent a near reversal of her thinking on this topic.Richly insightful, intricately drawn, and passionately argued, this absorbing story of the veil\’s resurgence, from Egypt through Saudi Arabia and into the West, suggests a dramatically new portrait of contemporary Islam. (20110202)
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN-10: 0300181434

Hijab Or Niqab? An Islamic Critique of the Face Veil

by Syed Mutawalli ad-Darsh

The debate on Muslim women’s dress is endless. The sisters who opt for niqab (face veil) may appear to be brave, but we need to dispel the notion that niqab is what is originally required by the Qur’an, and the hijab is a later modified version of the original. In fact the other way round is true. The sisters who don the ordinary hijab can rest assured that they are following the injunctions of the Qur’an and Sunnah to the letter, and in their true spirit. In these essays, Dr. Syed Mutawalli ad-Darsh examines the subject from the point of view of the Qur’an, Sunnah, and Ijma. Dr. ad-Darsh, who recently passed away, was an eminent ‘alim living in UK. His deep Islamic knowledge combined with years of experience in the west, make him particularly qualified to relate the teachings of Islam to modern societies.

Publisher: Islamic Book Trust (2003)
ISBN: 9839154524

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