The veil and the visible

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

The French Education Minister's attempt to ban the Muslim veil from public schools in 1994 renewed familiar tensions between Muslims and the French state-tensions that originated in France's colonial era. I argue that in 1994 the veil became the site of a power struggle between French-Muslims and the French state by virtue of a complex politics of seeing and being seen. The philosophical concept of “the visible,” moreover, reveals the extent to which this politics of seeing constitutes a heretofore unexamined form of rhetoric as epistemic. Such a form of rhetoric makes different subjects known to one another and establishes differential power relations through what is seen and how it is seen. I ultimately conclude, concerning rhetoric's epistemic function, that ways of knowing through seeing form a necessary complement to ways of knowing through speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-139
Number of pages25
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Volume63
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

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