Many European countries have lately seen the spread of a real "obsession" towards the Islamic veil. This topic has given rise to a heated debate around issues related to women's conditions in society and self-determination, as well as the integration/inclusion of minorities, especially Muslim. While the debate often tends to consider the veil as a symbol of female oppression and submission, for many Muslim women living in Western countries it has more complex symbolic meanings in terms of identity, culture and religion. These meanings are seldom taken into account when discussing the issue and its potential political and legal implications. This contribution will focus first on the case of France, a country that, in the name of secularism, has passed several laws aimed at prohibiting or restricting the use of some religious symbols - especially the veil - in public spaces, and in particular in schools. Several French politicians have also suggested tightening up these laws, by extending them to places currently not affected by such regulations, like universities or – with regard to the burkini – to bathing places. Furthermore, the case of France is particularly interesting because this hijab-related debate sees the coexistence of critical positions within the feminist movement which will be presented during this contribution. Our analysis will then move toward Italy. Here a more recent but animated debate takes place in a cultural context where the use of the veil is opposed through the conservative Catholic discourse and arguments borrowed from secular and republican France. In the second part of the contribution, we will analyse some examples of how literature for children and Young Adults interpret these complicated issues. More precisely, we will focus both on the works of female writers who express the points of view of the white majority and of the Christian culture and/or religion, but also on the voices of young writers, who tell their experience of being a woman and a Muslim (with the hijab) in a European country.

Islamic Veil, Secularism and Gender in Texts for Children and Young Adults

R. Pederzoli
2019

Abstract

Many European countries have lately seen the spread of a real "obsession" towards the Islamic veil. This topic has given rise to a heated debate around issues related to women's conditions in society and self-determination, as well as the integration/inclusion of minorities, especially Muslim. While the debate often tends to consider the veil as a symbol of female oppression and submission, for many Muslim women living in Western countries it has more complex symbolic meanings in terms of identity, culture and religion. These meanings are seldom taken into account when discussing the issue and its potential political and legal implications. This contribution will focus first on the case of France, a country that, in the name of secularism, has passed several laws aimed at prohibiting or restricting the use of some religious symbols - especially the veil - in public spaces, and in particular in schools. Several French politicians have also suggested tightening up these laws, by extending them to places currently not affected by such regulations, like universities or – with regard to the burkini – to bathing places. Furthermore, the case of France is particularly interesting because this hijab-related debate sees the coexistence of critical positions within the feminist movement which will be presented during this contribution. Our analysis will then move toward Italy. Here a more recent but animated debate takes place in a cultural context where the use of the veil is opposed through the conservative Catholic discourse and arguments borrowed from secular and republican France. In the second part of the contribution, we will analyse some examples of how literature for children and Young Adults interpret these complicated issues. More precisely, we will focus both on the works of female writers who express the points of view of the white majority and of the Christian culture and/or religion, but also on the voices of young writers, who tell their experience of being a woman and a Muslim (with the hijab) in a European country.
Literature, Gender and Education for Children and Young Adults / Littérature, genre, éducation pour l’enfance et la jeunesse
25
45
R. Pederzoli
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/695951
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