Ünal’s thesis addresses the diverse and changing sartorial practices of Turkish-Dutch Muslim women by exploring the effects that particular garments and combinations have depending on the ways and contexts in which they are worn.
Going beyond the divisions of veiling and non-veiling and the exclusive categories of “habitual” and “conscious” headscarf practice, this research enables a better understanding of the complexity of what it means to be a visible Muslim woman in the Netherlands today. It rearticulates Muslim sartorial practices as inherently related to the dilemmas of everyday clothing, and emphasizes that women make choices informed by a wide range of factors, including piety, generation, aesthetics, gender, economic status and social context. Finally, it argues that women’s sartorial practices have transformative effects on both themselves and on their relations with others. Based on ethnographic research this thesis shows that the increasing mobility of both Turkish-Dutch women and the items of clothing in their wardrobes not only results in a mix of styles and trends, it also facilitates the recognition of different aesthetics and understandings of tesettür clothing. Emergent discourses about the ethics and aesthetics of tesettür span the transnational space between Turkey and the Netherlands, as both women and garment circulate between these two national spaces. This thesis emphasizes the shifting and ambiguous character of Muslim dress. This emphasis entails a revision of some of the main assumptions of the popular discourse of “wardrobe modernization,” which has also shaped scholarly attention: the anticipated disappearance of religious clothing in modern, secular public spaces and the incongruity between fashion and religious clothing, In contrast, this thesis shows that producing a recognizably Muslim appearance is as complex and multi-faceted as the production of any individual appearance.
Ms R.A. Ünal: Wardrobes of Turkish-Dutch Women: The Multiple Meanings and Aesthetics of Muslim Dress. Supervisor is prof. dr. A.C.A.E. Moors.
The ceremony is open to the general public