CAIRO - Putting Muslims' hijab in the spotlight, University of North Carolina, in partnership with Duke University, has organized a two-day conference on Muslim women and their veils, tackling both spiritual and cultural values usually stereotyped and misunderstood in American and Europe.
The 2013 Duke-UNC Consortium Conference focuses on Muslim women's veiling practices in transnational contexts, the conference's website titled ReOrienting the Veil says.
The one and a half day conference is a forum for an interdisciplinary discussion of the cultural, religious, historical and political meanings of the Muslim headscarf.
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The conference ReOrienting the Veil is hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in partnership with Duke University.
Running through Feb. 22 and 23, the conference and other supporting events are intended to expand the dialogue about the tradition of wearing the veil and the meaning of the headscarf for Muslim women.
Participants will discuss why and how Muslim women wear the veil in a globalized and fashion-conscious world.
In the last four decades â¦ women's right to wear the headscarf has become a touchstone for issues and debates of various kinds, the website says.
The veil has become a topic of fiery political debates across the world in the last two decades with racial or religious profiling becoming more commonplace.
Scholars and artists will deliver 30-minute presentations on Muslim women's veiling.
Each presentation will be followed by a response from local faculty and a question-and-answer session
The goal of this conference is to provide a scholarly forum where nationally and internationally renowned scholars and artists will present their most recent research on veiling in the Middle East, in Europe and the USA, the conference's website says.
The conference was organized by Dr Sahar Amer, a professor of Asian Studies and French & Francophone Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with Dr Banu GÃ¶karÄ±ksel, a professor of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Presenters include, Elizabeth M. Bucar, associate professor of philosophy and religion at Northeastern University; Todd Drake, artist in residence at the UNC Center for Global Initiatives and Maryam Eskandari, architect, designer and founder of MIIM Designs LLC.
It is also attended by Homa Hoodfar, professor at Concordia University; Carla Jones, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado in Boulder; Typhaine Leservot, associate professor at Wesleyan University, and Marilia Marchetti, professor of French and Francophone Literature at the University of Catania, Italy.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to an estimated Muslim minority of six to eight million.
An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net