- Colonial traces? Islamic dress, gender and the public presence of Islam
- IMISCOE Research
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Controversies about Islamic dress have become common-place in Europe since the later 1980s, with state regulations targeting both the Islamic headscarf and later the face-veil. Such present-day attempt to regulate Islamic head coverings resonate with how Muslim women’s dress has been the focus of state interventions in colonial times. In both cases they are considered as a sign, symbol or instrument of Muslim women’s gender oppression and are associated with undesirable forms of Islam.
In this contribution, I intend to unpack the multiple ways in which references to ‘the colonial’ may work and analyze at which moments they are helpful and when they go awry. Tracing the genealogy of state regulations of Islamic head covers, takes us beyond colonial administrators’ discourse on women’s dress to the ways in which empires and emerging nation-states regulated men’s dress. The first part of this chapter then traces the shift in state governance from men’s dress to women’s dress, looking beyond direct colonial links and conditions in order to understand how such debates have emerged and were transformed in the context of colonial settings. In the second part I briefly address contemporary discourses in Europe that focus on women’s Islamic head covering. I end with an attempt to trace the genealogies of such contemporary concerns
- Proceedings title: Colonial and post-colonial governance of Islam: continuities and ruptures
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Place of publication: Amsterdam
Editors: M. Maussen, V. Bader, A. Moors
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