Covering the Face
The Complexities of Gendered Racialization in Europe
Keywords:Gender, racialization, Orientalism, Muslim women, face-veiling, burqa, niqab, Islam in Europe
The Dutch ban on face-veiling is a strong instantiation of the gendered racialization of Muslims in Europe. Racialization as a relation of power, with some in the position to categorize and impose an identity on others, produces and naturalizes difference. To justify the ban, politicians signified face-veiling as gendered oppression, as a security threat and as an obstacle to integration, bringing together ethical positions with affective and aesthetic sensibilities. The largely unheard narratives of face-veiling women, in contrast, highlighted the positive religious value of face-veiling and point to the state’s infringement on their freedom of religion, expression, and movement. As face-veiling women are simultaneously defined as victims to be saved and as threat to be removed from the public, their racialization is ambivalent. It is also multilayered, with debates on faceveiling not only producing a divide between Muslims and non-Muslims, but with some Muslims also involved in the racialization of other Muslims.
Ahmed, Leila. 1992. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Ahmed, Sara. 2004. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. New York: Routledge
Amir-Moazami, Schirin. 2016. “Investigating the Secular Body: The Politics of the Male Circumcision Debate in Germany.” ReOrient 1(2):147–170. https://doi.org/10.13169/reorient.1.2.0147 DOI: https://doi.org/10.13169/reorient.1.2.0147
Al-Saji, Alia. 2010. “The Racialization of Muslim Veils: A Philosophical Analysis.” Philosophy & Social Criticism 36(8): 875–902. https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453710375589 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453710375589
Anidjar, Gil. 2013. “On the European question.” Belgrade Journal of Media and Communications 2(3): 37–50.
Bacchi, Carol. 2015. “The Turn to Problematization: Political Implications of Contrasting Interpretive and Poststructural Adaptations.” Open Journal of Political Science 5(1): 1–12. https://doi.org/10.4236/ojps.2015.51001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4236/ojps.2015.51001
Bader, Veit, Marcel Maussen and Annelies Moors. 2011. Colonial and Post-Colonial Governance of Islam: Continuities and Ruptures. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9789048514946 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9789048514946
Baumann, Gerd. 1999. The Multicultural Riddle: Rethinking National, Ethnic, and Religious identities. London: Routledge.
Bracke, Sarah, and Nadia Fadil. 2012. “Is the headscarf oppressive or emancipatory? Field notes from the multicultural debate.” Religion and Gender 2(1): 36–56. https://doi.org/10.1163/18785417-00201003 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/18785417-00201003
Brah, Avtar. 1993. “Re-framing Europe: En-gendered racisms, ethnicities and nationalisms in contemporary Western Europe.” Feminist Review 45(1): 9–29. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/fr.1993.35
Brems, Eva, ed. 2014. The Experiences of Face-veil Wearers in Europe and the Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415591 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415591
Cesari, Jocelyne. 2009. “The Securitisation of Islam in Europe.” CEPS Challenge Paper No. 15. https://www.ceps.eu/ceps-publications/securitisation-islam-europe/
De Graaf, Beatrice. 2011. “Religion bites: religieuze orthodoxie op de nationale veiligheidsagenda.” Tijdschift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid 2(2): 62–80.
De Koning, Martijn. 2020. “From Turks and Renegades to Citizens and Radicals: The Historical Trajectories of “Good” and “Bad” Muslims in the Netherlands.” Trajecta 29(1): 3–26. https://doi.org/10.5117/TRA2020.1.001.DEKO DOI: https://doi.org/10.5117/TRA2020.1.001.DEKO
De Koning, Martijn, Carmen Becker, and Ineke Roex. 2020. Islamic Militant Activism in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. New York: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-42207-3 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-42207-3
Fadil, Nadia, Francesco Ragazzi, and Martijn de Koning, eds. 2019. Radicalization in Belgium and The Netherlands: Critical perspectives on Violence and Security. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781788316187 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5040/9781788316187
Fanon, Frantz. 1967 . Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press.
Fassin, Didier. 2011. “Racialization. How to Do Races with Bodies.” In A Companion to the Anthropology of the Body and Embodiment, edited by Frances E. Mascia-Lees, 419–34. Chichester, West Sussex; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444340488.ch24 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444340488.ch24
Fricker, Miranda. 2007. Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198237907.001.0001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198237907.001.0001
Garner, Steve and Saher Selod. 2015. “The Racialization of Muslims: Empirical Studies of Islamophobia.” Critical Sociology 41(1): 9–19. https://doi.org/10.1177/0896920514531606 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0896920514531606
Geschiere, Peter. 2009. The Perils of Belonging: Autochthony, Citizenship, and Exclusion in Africa and Europe. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226289663.001.0001
Gupta, Agil and James Ferguson. 1997. “Beyond “Culture”: Space, Identity and the Politics of Difference.” In Culture, Power, Place: Explorations in Critical Anthropology, edited by Agil Gupta and James Ferguson, 33–52. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822382089-001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822382089-001
Hirschkind, Charles, and Saba Mahmood. 2002. “Feminism, the Taliban, and Politics of Counter-Insurgency.” Anthropological Quarterly 75(2): 339–354. https://doi.org/10.1353/anq.2002.0031 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/anq.2002.0031
Jacobsen, Christine M. 2011. “Troublesome Threesome: Feminism, Anthropology and Muslim Women’s Piety.” Feminist Review 98: 65–82. https://doi.org/10.1057/fr.2011.10 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/fr.2011.10
Jansen, Yolande, and Nasar Meer. 2020. “Genealogies of “Jews” and “Muslims”: Social Imaginaries in the Race–Religion Nexus.” Patterns of Prejudice 54(1–2): 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/0031322X.2019.1696046 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0031322X.2019.1696046
Jouili, Jeanette. 2015. Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1515/9780804794893 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9780804794893
Kundnani, Arun. 2014. The Muslims Are Coming. Islamophobia, Extremism and the Domestic War on Terror. London: Verso
Lentin, Alana. 2000. ““Race,” Racism and Anti-Racism: Challenging Contemporary Classifications.” Social Identities (1): 91–106. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504630051372 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13504630051372
Lijphart, Arend. 1968. The Politics of Accommodation: Pluralism and Democracy in the Netherlands. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Masuzawa, Tomoko. 2005. The Invention of World Religions: Or, How European Universalism was Preserved in the Language of Pluralism. Chiicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226922621.001.0001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226922621.001.0001
Mamdani, Mahmood. 2004. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror. New York: Three Leaves Press.
Meer, Nasar. 2013. “Racialization and Religion: Race, Culture and Difference in the Study of Antisemitism and Islamophobia.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 36(3): 385–398. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2013.734392 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2013.734392
Moors, Annelies. 2009. “The Dutch and the Face–Veil: The Politics of Discomfort.” Social Anthropology 17(4): 393–408. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8676.2009.00084.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8676.2009.00084.x
———. 2012. “The Affective Power of the Face-Veil. Between Disgust and Fascination.” In Things: Material Religion and the Topography of Divine Spaces, edited by Birgit Meyer and Dick Houtman, 282–295. New York: Fortham University Press. https://doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.003.0017 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.003.0017
Moors, Annelies and Emma Tarlo. 2013. “Introduction: Islamic Fashion and Anti-Fashion. New Perspectives from Europe and North America.” In Islamic Fashion and Anti-Fashion. New Perspectives from Europe and North America, edited by Emma Tarlo and Annelies Moors, 1–30. London: Bloomsbury. https://doi.org/10.2752/9781474235303/TARLO0002 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2752/9781474235303/TARLO0002
Navaro–Yashin, Yael. 2009. “Affective Spaces, Melancholic Objects: Ruination and the Production of Anthropological Knowledge.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15(1): 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2008.01527.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2008.01527.x
Ngo, Helen. 2016. “Racist Habits: A Phenomenological Analysis of Racism and the Habitual Body.” Philosophy and Social Criticism 42(9): 847–872. https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453715623320 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453715623320
Patton, Chloe. 2014. “Defacing Levinas: Vision, Veiling and the Ethics of Republican Citizenship in France.” Social Identities 20(2-3): 186–198. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504630.2013.878990 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13504630.2013.878990
Prins, Baukje. 2002. “The Nerve to Break Taboos: New Realism in the Dutch Discourse on Multiculturalism.” Journal of International Migration and Integration 3(3): 363–379. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-002-1020-9 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-002-1020-9
Renton, James and Ben Gidley, eds. 2017. Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe: A Shared Story? London: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-41302-4 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-41302-4
Said. Edward. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon.
Sayyid, Salman, and AbdoolKarim Vakil. 2010. Thinking Through Islamophobia: Global Perspectives. London: Hurst Publishers.
Scheer, Monique, Birgitte Schepelern Johansen and Nadia Fadil. 2019. “Secular Embodiments: Mapping an Emergent Field.” In Secular Bodies, Affects and Emotions: European Configurations, edited by Monique Scheer, Nadia Fadil, and Birgitte Schepelern Johansen, 1–14. London: Bloomsbury Academic. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350065253.ch-001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350065253.ch-001
Schinkel, Willem. 2013. “The Imagination of ‘Society’ in Measurements of Immigrant Integration.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 36(7): 1142–1161. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2013.783709 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2013.783709
Slootman, Marieke, and Jan Willem Duyvendak. 2015. “Feeling Dutch: The Culturalization and Emotionalization of Citizenship and Second-Generation Belonging in the Netherlands.” In Fear, Anxiety, and National Identity: Immigration and Belonging in North America and Western Europe, edited by Nancy Foner and Patrick Simon, 147–168. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Scott, Joan Wallach. 2007. Parite! Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Shohat, Ella. 1992. “Rethinking Jews and Muslims: Quincentennial Reflections.” Middle East Report 22: 25. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3012984
Soyer, Francois. 2013. “Faith, Culture and Fear: Comparing Islamophobia in Early Modern Spain and Twenty-First-Century Europe.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 36(3): 399–416. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2013.734383
Stoler, Ann. 1992. “Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers: European Identities and the Cultural Politics of Exclusion in Colonial Southeast Asia.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 34(3): 514–551. https://doi.org/10.1017/S001041750001793X DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S001041750001793X
Van der Veer, Peter. 2006. “Pim Fortuyn, Theo van Gogh, and the Politics of Tolerance in the Netherlands.” Public Culture 18(1): 111–124. https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-18-1-111 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-18-1-111
Van Rooden, Peter. 2010. “Dutch Way of Dealing with Religious Differences.” In Religious Newcomers and the Nation State. Political Culture and Organized Religion in France and the Netherlands, edited by Eric Sengers and Thijl Sunier, 59–75. Delft: Eburon.
Vroon-Najem, Vanessa, and Annelies Moors. 2021. “‘Making Hijra’: Mobility, Religion and the Everyday in the Lives of Women Converts to Islam in the Netherlands.” Contemporary Islam 15(1): 35–55. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11562-021-00463-5 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11562-021-00463-5
Wertheim, Anne-Ruth. 2020. “Two Guises of Racism: Disdain as well as Envy.” Informed Comment (blog). June 10, 2020. https://www.juancole.com/2020/10/guises-racism-disdain.html
Yanow, Dvora, and Marleen van der Haar.2013. “People out of Place: Allochthony and Autochthony in the Netherlands’ Identity Discourse—Metaphors and Categories in Action.” Journal of International Relations and Development 16(2): 227–261. https://doi.org/10.1057/jird.2012.13 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/jird.2012.13
Ye?eno?lu, Meyda. 1998. Colonial Fantasies. Towards a Feminist Reading of Orientalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511583445 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511583445
Zine, Jasmin. 2020. “Pandemic Imaginaries and the Racial Politics of Masking.” TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 41: 22–32. https://doi.org/10.3138/topia-004 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/topia-004