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The Politics of the Veil
Joan Wallach Scott

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"The Politics of the Veil is a propitious contribution to the exploration and analysis of the complex meanings and purported meanings of these phenomena that have come to symbolise for Turkey and France the struggle to defend the foundations of their Republic against forces that allegedly undermine all that is glorious and good about these 'singular' or 'exceptional' states."-- Elif Aydýn, The Muslim News

"[I]t is important to remember the lessons of the headscarf ban, to understand the politics that lay behind it and its racist implications. This book is a useful reminder of both."--Sadie Robinson, International Socialism

"Scott's book is a wonderful discussion about how well and how badly societies respond to religious challenges. I strongly recommend it."--Iva Ellen Deutchman, Politics and Religion

"This book will undoubtedly rank as one of the best Anglo-American critical commentaries on the affaire du foulard and the 2004 law banning religious signs in schools...[Scott] succeeds in providing a magisterial demonstration of the power of discourse--of the ways in which abstract ideas, when mediated through a vibrant political culture, can influence collective thinking and practice."--Cécile Laborde, La Vie Des Idées

"Joan Scott authoritatively rejects many of the arguments that are often used in favor of totally excluding Islam from the public sphere. In doing so she has provided much food for thought and has written a book that is equally valuable to scholars and to students in a graduate or upper level undergraduate course."--Hootan Shambayati, Law and Politics Book Review

"The Politics of the Veil is written in clear and accessible prose, and its provocative yet succinct chapters are thought provoking and user friendly at the same time. . . . [T]he book can be easily divided up and read over two or three class periods or it can be comfortably assigned as a whole. Because its subject matter is so pertinent to so many disciplines, the book can be used in history, sociology, anthropology, political science, gender studies, European Studies, religion, or any courses in the humanities or social sciences examining contemporary French politics and society."--Kristen Ghodsee, Women's Studies International Forum

"The Politics of the Veil . . . challenges the traditions of detached scholarship, yet Scott's careful use of specific evidence adheres to scholarly methods and demonstrates how historians can contribute critical insights to the public debates of our own time."--Lloyd Kramer, Journal of Modern History

"This is a very important and . . . welcome book. . . . [T]his sharp and insightful study is undoubtedly a must for any student on not only French society, but of questions regarding secular ideology, gender, and 'deterritorialized' Islam in general."--Per-Erik Nilsson, Evironment and Planning

"Scott succeeds in revealing how the inability of French government's failure to address the issue of the veil meaningfully underlines its current inability to create a country where the co-existence of differences, rather than celebration of what is common or the same, is the basis of community."--Irmak Ertuna, Darkmatter

"Scott unfolds excellent and detailed analyses of the construction of the citizen in the French nation state, of French racism and Algeria, and of the prominent news events in the French veiling controversy."--Virginia Corvid, Feminist Collections


"Brilliant, crisp, and cogently argued. Joan W. Scott's novel and trenchant discursive analysis exposes the prejudices of the reductionist French versions of secularism and feminism regarding Islam and French Muslims from North African and Arab origins. The study is illuminating far beyond the French case, as former colonial and/or working subjects struggle for integration and recognition of their difference."--Abdellah Hammoudi, Princeton University

"Carefully argued, insightful and humane, Joan Scott's The Politics of the Veil is far and away the best account of France's identity crisis that was signaled by the famous headscarf affair. The final chapter, on the symbolic meanings of the headscarf/veil, is the most original and brilliant piece of writing that I have read on this topic. This is an indispensable book, transcending the particularity of French obsessions and forcing the reader to think about wider political problems that concern us all."--Talal Asad, author of On Suicide Bombing

"Scott traces the history and politics of veil controversies in France and draws apart intertwined strands, starting with the legacy of racism from the colonial past. She persuasively argues for the negotiation of cultural and religious differences rather than their negation. This book will be required reading for all those concerned with the integration of Muslims into Western Christian societies."--Beth Baron, author of Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics

"This is an important and timely book that will challenge the dominant terms used to debate the French government's ban on the veil in public schools. Through a careful analysis of historical and contemporary French discourse on Muslims and Arabs, Scott helps us see how the controversy over the veil is indexical of a deep paradox that haunts the ideology of French Republicanism of which the principle of laïcité is a crucial part."--Saba Mahmood, author of Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject

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File created: 4/21/2017

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