Topics in PT: Orientalism and Femininity

This course explores the construction of an Oriental femininity in western scholarly, journalistic, and artistic production in the 19th and 20th century. It begins by examining colonial representations of Oriental women mapped onto an exotic fantasy of the harem. It then traces the imprint of the Orientalist cosmology upon 20th century portrayals of Muslim women within the context of a “clash of civilizations” and American intervention in Afghanistan. It also addresses the “headscarf controversy” that has erupted in France in the 1980s, and the linkages between the “veil”, agency, Islam, and secular modernity.

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