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What Is Veiling?$
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Sahar Amer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781469617756

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469617756.001.0001

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Veils, Harems, and the Mission to Civilize

Veils, Harems, and the Mission to Civilize

(p.77) Chapter Four Veils, Harems, and the Mission to Civilize
What Is Veiling?

Sahar Amer

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter looks at veiling during the nineteenth century, a period that saw European imperial powers make incursions into and take control over much of the Middle East. It examines how European views of Muslim-majority societies and of veiled Muslim women of this time have shaped the way Muslim women, especially veiled ones, are perceived in Euro-American societies today. It begins by discussing the portrayal of Middle Eastern women with veils and the imagined interiors of harems in European and American paintings throughout the nineteenth century, in photographs and postcards in the early twentieth century, and in early Hollywood films. It then explores how European colonisers used Muslim women's veiling and the perceived evils of Islam to justify their civilizing missions.

Keywords:   veiling, Middle East, Muslim women, harems, paintings, photographs, Hollywood films, European colonisers, Islam, civilizing missions

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