From Headscarf Hysteria to Burkini Bans: Western Reactions to ‘Muslim’ Women and Their Bodies

Graphic by Tang Designer Jean Egger

Join us on Thursday, October 27, at 6:00 pm, for a panel discussion with members from the Skidmore College community, including Nurcan Atalan-Helicke, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies; Rula Issa ‘17; Murat Yildiz, Visiting Assistant Professor, History; and Adrienne Zuerner, Associate Professor, World Languages & Literatures. This discussion is coordinated by Pushkala Prasad, Zankel Chair Professor of Management & Liberal Arts.

A growing hostility has characterized public reactions to ‘Muslim’ women who choose to cover their, heads, faces and bodies in the West. Some European countries have formally banned the hijab (headscarf) and burka (full veil). In other countries, women who wear some form of the veil are severely discriminated in the education and employment sectors, and vilified in the media. Recently, France has been in the limelight for attempting to outlaw the burkini (full body swimsuit) on French beaches in the name of secularism and women’s empowerment. What sense are we to make of these tendencies? How can we understand these reactions as a global feminist issue? What implications do these policies and debates have for a multicultural country like the U.S.A.? The panelists will discuss these and related issues from multiple personal and academic vantage points.

This event is part of A More Perfect Union and is free and open to the public.

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