(Re)Envisioning the Veil
Keywords:veiling, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, gender
AbstractThis article examines some of the many shifting meanings of the veil within monotheistic religions and secular societies. Focusing on women’s head-coverings within Hasidic Jewish communities, the practice of veiling within Christianity as demonstrated by the habit worn by Catholic nuns, and headscarves as adopted by some Muslim women, I explore how these modes of dress can be read as forms of resistance, of subverting sexual objectification, and as ways to gain access to the public sphere. By drawing comparisons across the main three monotheistic religions, I work to challenge colonial narratives which predominantly single out Islamic headscarves, while ignoring other existing practices of women’s headcoverings in Jewish and Christian communities. Ultimately, this paper aims to situate perspectives from Judaism, Christianity and Islam in conversation with each other, so as to broaden dominant interpretations of veiling practices.
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