To veil or not to veil? A case study of identity negotiation among Muslim women in Austin, Texas


Journal Article

The increasingly pervasive practice of veiling among Muslim women has stimulated a great deal of scholarly investigation and debate. This study brings empirical evidence to bear on current debates about the meaning of the veil in Islam. This article first examines the conflicting meanings of the veil among Muslim religious elites and Islamic feminists. Although the dominant gender discourse among Muslim elites strongly favors this cultural practice, an antiveiling discourse promulgated by Islamic feminists has gained ground within recent years. This study then examines how these discursive disputes affect gender identity negotiation among veiled and unveiled Muslim women living in Austin, Texas. Interviews with these women highlight how their gender identities reproduce and reformulate existing Muslim gender discourses. Special attention is paid to the subjective disparities and points of congruence between both groups of respondents. This study concludes by suggesting avenues for future research on the intersection of gender, religion, and cultural difference.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Read, JG; Bartkowski, JP

Published Date

  • January 1, 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 14 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 395 - 417

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0891-2432

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/089124300014003003

Citation Source

  • Scopus