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Following the trail of Islamism and the Veil across time and borders


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Speaker(s): Professor Leila Ahmed
Chair: Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed

Recorded on 26 May 2011 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

Professor Ahmed asks why the wearing of veils or headscarves has become a growing phenomenon in America – and across the world. Having almost vanished from many Muslim majority cities, why in the 1970s did veiling (or covering) suddenly begin to grow more common and rapidly spread first across Muslim majority societies and then later in the West? Following this trail Professor Ahmed explores the forces which brought about this "rebirth" of veiling, and how, why and by what means they succeeded in persuading women to take on the hijab. She also examines how this pro-veiling form of Islam continues to evolve now that it has taken root in the democratic societies of the West.

Leila Ahmed is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. She is the author of the recently published A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence from the Middle East to America, the follow up to her seminal work Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate.

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