Title

Veiling and unveiling in Central Asia: Beliefs and practices, tradition and modernity

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2017

Publication Source

The Routledge International Handbook to Veils and Veiling

Inclusive pages

84-93

Publisher

Routledge

ISBN/ISSN

9781317041146

Abstract

Among the Central Asian Muslim cultures that became subject to Russian Imperial control in the late nineteenth century, women who belonged to farming and urban communities covered their body, head, and faces when they were outside the home. Women who belonged to nomadic pastoralist communities covered their hair and occasionally their faces. By the 1920s, when the Soviet Union drew the boundaries that became Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and the other Central Asian republics, women’s veiling (covering head, face, and body) and seclusion became topics of social debate and targets for government intervention. Veiling largely disappeared during the Soviet period, but after the Central Asian republics became independent in 1991, many Central Asian women began practicing new forms of veiling. This chapter explores both trends, asking what unveiling meant to Central Asian women in the 1920s and what veiling means to them in the 2000s.

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