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Cover for The Veil

The Veil

Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Politics

Jennifer Heath (Editor)


List Price: 29.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


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

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

“Thoughtful [and] intelligent.”
— The Times

“This thought-provoking collection of essays goes far in moving the veil away from any singular interpretation or judgment.”
— Daily Telegraph

“Provie[s] a wide spectrum of views, traditions, feelings and issues related to the human practice of covering the head and hair.”
— Bloomsbury Review

“The approach chosen for this anthology—reflective, meditative broad, and under exclusively female authorship—is commendable and refreshing.”
— Journal American Academy Of Religion/ Jaar

“A critical read for feminists and students of Women’s Studies in the United States.”
— Feminist Review

— Wise (Women’s Islamic Initiative In Spirituality And Equity)

University of California Press, 9780520255180, 360pp.

Publication Date: July 2, 2008

About the Author

Jennifer Heath is the author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Scimitar and the Veil: Extraordinary Women of Islam, and her writing has appeared in numerous anthologies. She has traveled extensively throughout the Muslim world and is the founder of Seeds for Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Relief Organization Midwife Training and Infant Care program, now International Midwife Assistance.