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Abu lughod,veiling

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Transnational Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality

Transnational Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality

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  • The Middle East - vast geopolitically and culturally diverse geography but no precise borders. Discussion of what fits in this arbitrary definiton? \nBahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, the Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Afghanistan and Pakistan to Egypt? \nControversy over including the non-Arab states such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey ? Libya, Tunisia, Algeria- North Africa or Middle East? \n\n
  • At this critical moment in the US, constant bombardment by news about the Middle East. \nWhat images does “the Middle East” conjure up? -- oil, veiled women, and male terrorists? The gendered aspects of misrepresentation. \nUndoing some of the gender stereotypes about the Middle East by using Lila Abu-Lughod as entry. \n
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  • Two Orientalist paintings: Sir Frank Dicksee's Leila and William Clarke Wontner's Safie, One of the Three Ladies of Baghdad; Three colonial picture postcards of young Algerian women--staged, produced and bought by French colonial officers; The original picutre from which the cover of Reading Lolita in Tehran was cropped\n
  • One of the ways photography was used by Colonists in Algeria was to produce postcards that often depicted women in contrived settings, wearing clothing and using props that the photographer included to "authenticate" the images. The postcards were bought cheaply on the street by tourists and colonists who would send them back to Europe as a glimpse into the Oriental world. These images fueled Western stereotypes of Islamic women and also drew on the same tradition of representation as Delacroix, Gerome and Ingres. The women wear veils, frequently have their breasts showing, and are shown carrying jugs of water or doing other domestic tasks. Viewers of these images often mistook them for presenting reality because of the authenticity associated with photography.\n
  • More from Alloula’s book (discussed in Kaplan and Grewal)\n
  • The most common place to find Western representations of Muslim women in modern times is in advertising and popular media. The Western stereotypes of Muslim women are no longer often seen in fine arts, as they were in the 19th century, rather they are used to promote authenticity to consumers. These images are used to sell a range of items, from movies, to perfume, to food products. The cigarette ad below is an example of this type of marketing. The woman is shown wearing a transparent veil, which allows us to see her face and hair. This gives her a mysterious, coy demeanor that appeals to Western sentiments. The East is seen as marketable and sexy in the West, and sex sells!\n\nRepresentations such as the examples illustrated here are used in advertising because they play into three different Western fetishes. These fetishes stem from the notion that modern Western women consider Islamic women to be their opposite. We believe Muslim women to be oppressed, whereas we feel we are liberated. Our need to portray this opposition is rooted in these fetishes, which include: the consistent view of Muslim women as the exotic other; men viewing Muslim women as a conquest, as if they symbolize emblems of the countries they want to rule (as in Colonialism), and, Muslim women, most commonly veiled, also function as a symbol of authenticity in marketing. \n
  • Pushtan were specific group to use Burkha. Thus rural women found this a “step up” if they were positioned socially below.\nAbu-Lughod--mobile homes\n
  • * Also in Southeast Turkey and other rural regions.\n\n
  • Oversimplified imagery and definition but - works to speak of diversity of veiling praxis. \n
  • also considered modern form of hijab, or headscarves\n
  • The color of a veil, the way a veil is worn, and how decorative it is are forms of expressing cultural identity and self-expression in Muslim society.\n
  • “Eight women were arrested in the northern province of Gilan as part of a new clamp-down on social corruption. women police officers in patrols belonging to the Directorate to Fight Social Corruption were roaming the streets to find women violating the stringent dress code and to fight public displays of corruption and mal-veiling” - DIRECTORATE TO FIGHT SOCIAL CORRUPTION? \n
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  • Shyam Selvadurai left Sri Lanka for Canada in the 1980s as a Tamil refugee and now writes novels in English that depict the irresolvable tensions between Tamils and Sinhalese during two distinct periods pf postcolonial Sri Lanka that foreshadow the Tamil/Sinhalese split and the efforts by Tamils to create a distinct nation, one they’ve called Tamil Eelam. The formation of Tamil nationalism has been carried out in novel ways, particularly through the use of world wide web sites and the redefinition of national membership. “Funny” characters rendered by Selvadurai similarly expand the traditional national subject. Although overlooked by virtual TE, Selvadurai’s funny characters embody national and ethnic positions that reflect the particularities of this Sri Lankan based, diasporic Tamil nation. \n
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  • Tamil Eelam is a nation fighting for sovereign territory within the island nation of Sri Lanka, formerly the British colony of Ceylon. Their right to land and self-government has been refused by Sri Lanka and by international governing bodies such as the United Nations. Unsuccessful negotiations have resulted in violent conflicts between the ruling Sinhalese and the Tamils struggling for independence. \n
  • http://www.geocities.com/srilankangay/news1.html\nWhile national membership is envisioned to include every ethnic Tamil with links to Sri Lanka, the imagined social body described in other accounts elides "queer" citizenry and non-heteronormative practices. \n
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  • Transcript

    • 1. Abu-Lughod, Veiling, Selvadurai, Sri LankaBinariesExamine veiling in its complexityThink about local/global intersections--veiling and funnyExamine context for Funny Boy (Sri Lanka and colonialism)Conclusions--how have been glocal, both global and local, specificand transnational? How has this helped our understanding of womenwho veil and non-normative sexuality in Sri Lanka?
    • 2. BINARIESWhat are they?How do they inform what we know?How do they inform our reaction to the veil?How does Abu-Lughod point them out?
    • 3. Veiling andTransnational Identities 100 75 50 25 0 Feminism The Veil Saving Freedom
    • 4. Map of Contemporary Middle East
    • 5. Images of the Middle East
    • 6. “The Muslim Woman”
    • 7. PERSISTENT VISIONS OF ARAB WOMEN
    • 8. POSTCARDS--POSED IN UNLIKELY POSITIONS--WERE A TREND DURING 18TH CENTURY (SEE ALLOULA ON ALGERIA)
    • 9. 19TH CENTURY: FOR ADVERTISING
    • 10. Types of veiling (1) • Burqa-a large robe that covers the entire body, including the head and face, with a mesh covering over the eyes (room to breathe) • burqa is most commonly associated with Afghanistan • comes from Pashtun tradition
    • 11. Types of Veiling (2) • Chador- large black shawl covering the hair and entire body • mostly in Iran
    • 12. Types of veiling (3)• Hijab= veil in Arabic• coverage of the head and neck but leaves the face clear• a symbol of Islamic piety and womanhood• myriad of styles and colors
    • 13. Types of Veiling (4)• Tesettür-fashionable hijab in Turkey• Signals urban cosmopolitanism and upward mobility
    • 14. What can veils Veils do not take away identity, but rather can be markers of identity. They are not only symbolic of faith, but are also a form of visual expression. The veil can reveal many things about its wearer as an individual including: • where they are from • tribal association • status/rank • the event they are attending such as
    • 15. POLITICAL USES OF VEILING (1) • Iran - veiling is mandatory • Iran police arrest women for un-Islamic dress- 31 Jul 2005 (Iran Focus) a new crackdown on un-Islamic dress. • Police roaming the streets & arresting unveiled or mal- veiled women • To fight public displays of corruption and loss of virtue
    • 16. Debate continues in Iran to the present dayTwo sides to every story. Many Iranianwomen (especially those who have left) abhor mandatory veiling. Such as theNational Council of Resistance of Iran.
    • 17. Political Uses of Veiling (2) • Headscarf ban in state institutions in Turkey • Headscarf - seen as a threat to Turkish secularism: separation of state & religion • Merve Kavakci - prevented from office because she refused to go unveiled
    • 18. Questions about veiling-Is veiling always oppressive to Muslim women?-Can the veil be liberating?-Can it be empowering to see without being seen?-Is the veil mandated by the Qu’ran?-Do only women wear veils?
    • 19. Not cultural relativism says Abu- Lughod Recognize cultural difference – not cultural relativism – cultural relativism suggests each culture is different and equally valuable, and so no need for political action (789 vs. 787--another set of universal women’s
    • 20. Funny Boy (Harvest Press, 1994)
    • 21. Shyam Selvadurai
    • 22. The Tamil Eelam nation considers its boundaries to be locatedin the area north of the black line.
    • 23. Abu-Lughod, Veiling, Selvadurai, Sri LankaBinariesExamine veiling in its complexityThink about local/global intersections--veiling and funnyExamine context for Funny Boy (Sri Lanka and colonialism)Conclusions--how have been glocal, both global and local, specificand transnational? How has this helped our understanding of womenwho veil and non-normative sexuality in Sri Lanka?