Centre for Gender Studies

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Dr Kimberley Brayson to guest edit a special issue of the Journal of Gender Studies

The special issue builds on the recent success of the University of Sussex Centre for Gender Studies annual event 2017 of the same title. The event brought together sociologists, criminologists, legal academics and campaigners from the U.S, France and the UK to engage in knowledge exchange on the contemporary phenomenon of Islamophobia, its specific intersection with the issue of Islamic dress and the precarity of those bodies wearing Islamic dress. The theme of the event and the divergent perspectives that the participants drew upon through their papers pursued a feminist and post-colonial agenda through interdisciplinary methodologies. The participants brought to the event a variety of approaches and addressed the issue of Islamic dress from novel perspectives, drawing on the relationship of western states with the non-western world. The special issue builds on this scholarship to open the discussion up in a reflexive manner by inviting submissions on this theme. Authors selected for this special issue will challenge current normative trends in relation to Islamic dress, make visible fundamental narratives that are absent from mainstream socio-political public discourse and offer conceptual tools for thinking about the precarity of those bodies wearing Islamic dress. This can include thinking about how certain established emancipatory discourses are employed in non-emancipatory ways to achieve strategic political goals in the debate around Islamic dress and the institutionalisation of Islamophobia. 

In a social, political and legal climate where Muslim women wearing Islamic dress in the UK have been described as letter boxes and compared to bank robbers and Islamic dress has been likened to a muzzle and a coffin in France, the regulation, criminalisation and policing of the bodies of Muslim women has become common place in contemporary European society. Such policing is often justified on the basis of saving Muslim women from gender oppression and debates around national security. Muslim women wearing Islamic dress attract hostile attention on account of their visibility, which has resulted in increased Islamophobic hate crime towards these women. This special issue welcomes submissions that reflect the broad academic community and divergent perspectives on this topic and provides a space within the special issue for varied arguments and perspectives problematising these issues.

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By: Laura Arnold
Last updated: Wednesday, 5 June 2019