Philosophy and Social Criticism 36 (8):875-902 (2010)

Authors
Alia Al-Saji
McGill University
Abstract
This article goes behind stereotypes of Muslim veiling to ask after the representational structure underlying these images. I examine the public debate leading to the 2004 French law banning conspicuous religious signs in schools and French colonial attitudes to veiling in Algeria, in conjunction with discourses on the veil that have arisen in other western contexts. My argument is that western perceptions and representations of veiled Muslim women are not simply about Muslim women themselves. Rather than representing Muslim women, these images fulfill a different function: they provide the negative mirror in which western constructions of identity and gender can be positively reflected. It is by means of the projection of gender oppression onto Islam, and its naturalization to the bodies of veiled women, that such mirroring takes place. This constitutes, I argue, a form of racialization. Drawing on the work of Fanon, Merleau-Ponty and Alcoff, I offer a phenomenological analysis of this racializing vision. What is at stake is a form of cultural racism that functions in the guise of anti-sexist and feminist liberatory discourse, at once posing a dilemma to feminists and concealing its racializing logic
Keywords Racialization  Islam  Hijab  Veil  Racism  Muslim women
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0191453710375589
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,323
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Oppressive Things.Shen-yi Liao & Bryce Huebner - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):92-113.
The Production of Acceptable Muslim Women in the United States.Falguni A. Sheth - 2019 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77 (4):411-422.

View all 20 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Muslim Women and the Rhetoric of Freedom.Alia Al-Saji - 2009 - In Mariana Ortega & Linda Martín Alcoff (eds.), Constructing the Nation: A Race and Nationalism Reader. SUNY Press.
Muslim Governance and the Duty to Protect.Irene Oh - 2013 - Journal of Religious Ethics 41 (1):15-19.
Who Counts as a Muslim? Identity, Multiplicity and Politics.Saba Fatima - 2011 - Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 31 (3):339-353.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-10-10

Total views
207 ( #49,560 of 2,448,710 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #142,302 of 2,448,710 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes