Conversations With History: The Politics of the Veil

so many wonderful ideas and analysis in this interview with joan wallach scott about her book “the politics of the veil”: french universalism and its inability to look at fissures in the construction of a unified nation grounded in universal principles; the hijab as a visible, recognizable symbol of women’s oppression so that justice and equality are automatically assumed for women who don’t wear the hijab (a convenient binary that erases women’s issues in the west); islam as a religion but also, in the present moment, a language of protest against materialism, capitalism, globalization, etc; how sex is one category of difference deemed “natural” in french political theory and from which individuals cannot be abstracted in order to be equal, and how that so-called natural difference is then negotiated through sexual play and flirtation; the islamic impulse to dress modestly, resist flirtation and in fact segregate the sexes, is therefore at war with “la singularité française.” brilliant.

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