Veiling in Africa

Veiling in Africa

Edited by Elisha P. Renne
Distribution: World
Publication date: 5/14/2013
Format: paper 248 pages, 8 color illus., 31 b&w illus.
6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-253-00820-6
Bookmark and Share
 $28.00  $16.80 

 Add to Wish List 

Other formats available:

Buy from Amazon


The tradition of the veil, which refers to various cloth coverings of the head, face, and body, has been little studied in Africa, where Islam has been present for more than a thousand years. These lively essays raise questions about what is distinctive about veiling in Africa, what religious histories or practices are reflected in particular uses of the veil, and how styles of veils have changed in response to contemporary events. Together, they explore the diversity of meanings and experiences with the veil, revealing it as both an object of Muslim piety and an expression of glamorous fashion.

Author Bio

Elisha P. Renne is Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Department for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. She is author of The Politics of Polio in Northern Nigeria (IUP, 2010).


"Explores the many meanings and uses of veiling which is so often treated as a monolithic phenomenon emblematic of Islam in different African and African diaspora contexts." —Emma Tarlo, Goldsmiths, University of London

"Although Islam has existed in Africa for more than one thousand years, its influence on material expressive culture (dress, sculpture, painting, architecture) has not been as well explored as indigenous religious and cultural traditions. This volume examines the complex histories, politics, and experiences of wearing Islamic dress in sub-Saharan Africa." —Heather Marie Akou, Indiana University Bloomington

"This is an exciting and strong collection of original research on women’s—and men’s—veiling practices in a range of African Muslim settings and the social and religious discourses that accompany changes in dress over time. Taken as a whole, it offers a fascinating overview of African Muslim interpretations of theological debates about 'the veil' and gender relations in Muslim societies while illustrating some of the particular accommodations adopted by African women." —
International Journal of African Historical Studies

"[T]he value of this volume is in its detailed coverage of veiling manifestations in Africa, which indeed fills a descriptive gap. It also explores diverse meanings of veiling, which are added to our understanding of the phenomenon." —Africa

"Overall, Veiling in Africa represents a valuable perspective on a less investigated topic that could be very interesting and novel for Western audiences. And, finally, it should be mentioned that in addition to the general readers, this volume could be of interest to anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists as well as students of these fields who are interested in both African studies and Islamic cultural practices." —African Studies Quarterly

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Veiling/Counter-Veiling in sub-Saharan Africa Elisha Renne

Part I. Veiling Histories & Modernities
1. Veiling, Fashion and Social Mobility: A Century of Change in Zanzibar Laura Fair

2. Veiling Without Veils: Modesty and Reserve in Tuareg Cultural Encounters Susan Rasmussen
3. Interwined Veiling Histories in Nigeria Elisha Renne

Part II. Veiling & Fashion
4. Religious Modesty, Fashionable Glamour, and Cultural Text: Veiling in Senegal
Leslie Rabine

5. Modest Bodies, Stylish Selves: Fashioning Virtue in Niger Adeline Masquelier
6. “Should a Good Muslim Cover Her Face?” Pilgrimage, Veiling, and Fundamentalisms in Cameroon José C. M. van Santen

Part III. Veiling/Counter-Veiling
7. Invoking
Hijab: The Power Politics of Spaces and Employment in Nigeria
Hauwa Mahdi

8. “We Grew Up Free but Here We Have to Cover Our Faces”: Veiling among Oromo Refugees in Eastleigh, Kenya Peri M. Klemm

9. Vulnerability Unveiled: Lubna’s Pants and Humanitarian Visibility on the Verge of Sudan’s Secession Amal Hassan Fadlalla

List of Contributors

Related Titles