Question : Why is fashion an important site of social control as well as social protest/ revolution? Why are the hijab, burqa and burkini such contested articles of clothing, and how are bans on veiling practices worldwide linked to colonial and Islamophobic politics as well as Western media portrayals of Muslim women as “oppressed” or in need of “rescue”?
Discuss 2 specific political and/or legal contexts—one past, and one contemporary–in which fashion has provoked public debate, and why. Cases to consider may include the zoot suit riots in LA; burkini and burqa bans in France, Denmark, and Austria; the contemporary modest fashion movement, including YouTube hijabi tutorials as well as recent ad campaigns featuring the hijab (Gap, Nike, H&M) and modest fashion shows on global runways including Istanbul, Dubai, and New York; the ‘battle of the veil’ in Algeria during the anti-colonial revolution; the ban on the hijab and dissemination of images of women in bathing suits in public space in Turkey under Ataturk; the ban on the hijab in public schools in Turkey or France in the 1990s-2000s; the ban on or mandatory enforcement of the hijab and chador in Iran before or after the 1979 Revolution; the resurgence of veiling in the West as an expression of faith and resistance to Islamophobia and xenophobic immigration policies post-9/11 and post-Trump’s election in the U.S; the revolutionary fashion uprisings described by Mahdavi in contemporary Iran; or the most recent (January 2018) “Girls of Revolution Street” and “My Stealthy Freedom” movements to affirm women’s dress as a personal choice in Iran.
Discuss 3 of the following readings: Ramirez; Abu-Lughod; Moaveni; Cinar; Ahmed; Gokariksel & Secor; Berg; Friedman and/or Mahdavi. You must also discuss the Canadian documentary Under One Sky OR the “social experiment” video regarding the burkini ban, policing, and bystander intervention on the beach in the UK.