Monique Deveaux

Religion, Tradition, Autonomy. Can Intersectional Theory Reveal Openings for Women's Agency?

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Race; Intersectionality; Feminist Theory; Agency; Muslim Veiling.

Feminist intersectional theory was first developed to explain the distinctive forms of subjectivity and oppression created by the intersection of race and gender - especially the experience of Black women in the United States. Recently some scholars have reached for this theory to illuminate the experiences of racialized women who are members of religious minorities in secular states. Intersectionality's move into debates religion, however, brings to the surface longstanding disagreements about the nature, scope, and preconditions for women's agency - especially in contexts of subordination or oppression. I reflect on these tensions in discussing why and how feminist intersectional theory may be helpful for thinking about the politics of Islamic veiling in liberal democratic societies.

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