Professor Uncovers Mysteries of Veiling

March 10, 2015
what is veiling book cover by sahar amer

Dr. Sahar Amer, author of "What Is Veiling," [UNC Press, 2014] speaks about the veil, one of the most visible elements of the Muslim faith, at Sonoma State University April 14.

Known by a variety of names, like hijab and burqa, the covering worn by some Muslim women is one of the least understood practices of Islam. Amer, who herself veiled for a short time in her 20s, brings context and a contemporary look at the phenomenon. She explains the origins of veiling in Islamic thought as well as the creative, thoughtful and sometimes subversive reasons behind women's choice to don the veil (or to remove it) in the 21st century.

Her lecture offers new and thought provoking ways to consider the veil at a time when the choice to be visibly Muslim has been complicated in the eyes of non-practitioners. Amer will discuss the complex roles this practice has played in history, religion, politics, society, feminism, fashion and art.

Dr. Amer is a Yale-educated professor and chair of the department of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on Arab diasporas, on gender and sexuality in Arab and Muslim societies, and on postcolonial identities. "What Is Veiling" is her third book.

This is the first time Amer has spoken at Sonoma State since 2004, when she gave a talk titled "Behind the Veil: French Desire and the Middle East."

The talk will be preceded by "Weaved," a short multimedia performance presented by Larger Purpose Productions & Performers. Designed and directed by SSU professor Christine Renaudin, this artistic prelude is meant to sensitize the audience by way of a multimodal approach to the topic.

This event is sponsored by the Hub, the School of Arts and Humanities, the department of modern languages and literatures, Phi Beta Delta (the Honor Society for International Scholars), the department of political science, and the Center for Ethics, Law and Society (CELS).

Dr. Sahar Amer speaks in Schroeder Hall at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center Tuesday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. The event is free, but tickets are required. Call 664.4177 for more information.