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

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

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

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

Synopsis

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

Excerpt

Jennifer Heath

Vision is through the veil and inescapably so.
Ibn al-Arabi

Veiling—of women, men, and sacred places and objects—has existed among people of countless cultures and religions from time immemorial. Yet the veil is vastly misunderstood. Once upon a time, the veil in all its multiplicity was more or less taken for granted everywhere as, at the very least, an essential expression of the divine mysteries. Today, veiling has become globally polarizing, a locus for the struggle between Islam and the West and between contemporary and traditional interpretations of Islam.

But veiling spans time long before Islam and space far beyond the Middle East. This book attempts to provide a larger picture of veiling by exploring and examining some of its culture, politics, and narrative(s), recalling its universality, great antiquity, uses, and misuses. Twenty-one gifted writers, scholars, and artists—who represent diverse societies, religions, ages, locations, accomplishments, and attitudes—elucidate, challenge, condemn, and/or praise the veil. Contemporary issues and . . .

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