Sex, Sexuality and EU Norms

Friday September 21

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Fri Sep 21 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM 208N, North House


Jennifer Selby
Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland

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Daria Dumbadze


Heated discussion in the media, costly and laborious government commissions, and restrictive legal recommendations in France and Quebec, Canada have recently focused on the undesirability of face-covering veils (burqas and niqabs) in the public sphere. This talk charts how these sites have, at the same time, generated a contrasting idealized presentation of a desireable secular female body. This examination is grounded in recent secularism studies scholarship that argues that, like forms of religiosity, secularisms include a range of social and physical dispositions, or what Michael Warner calls “a framework of corporeal experience and struggle” (Warner 2008; see also, Calhoun et al. 2011; Mahmood 2009; Jakobsen and Pellegrini 2008; Asad 2003). Through consideration of two recent niqab-wearing women’s legal cases outside of Paris and in Montreal, and with reference to Michel Foucault theory of governmentality (1980, 1988) and Nilüfer Göle’s notion of sameness (2007), I examine the regulatory functions and normalizing delineations of female sexuality within restrictions against full-face hijabs.

Dr. Selby is assistant professor of Religious Studies and affiliate faculty of Gender Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is author of Questioning French Secularism: Islam and Gender Politics in a Parisian Suburb (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and co-editor of Debating Sharia: Islam, Gender Politics and Family Law Arbitration (with Anna Korteweg, University of Toronto Press, 2012). Recent articles have appeared in the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs and in Culture and Religion.

Co-sponsored by

Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies