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College of Human Ecology

Hawley contributes chapter to new book on history, politics of veils

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A new anthology exploring how veils have been used throughout history includes a chapter by Kansas State University's Jana Hawley, professor and head of the department of apparel, textiles and interior design.

Hawley is among the 21 writers and scholars who contributed to "The Veil: Women Writers on its History, Lore and Politics," which was edited by Jennifer Heath and published by the University of California Press. The writers, representing a wide range of societies, religions, ages, locations, race and accomplishments, examine the cultures, politics and histories of veiling.

Hawley's chapter, "The Amish Veil: Symbol of Separation and Community," refers to the extensive research she conducted in an Old Order Amish community in Jamesport, Mo. Hawley lived in the community for a year and has written several articles about her research, ranging from Amish business practices and women's entrepreneurship, to religion contrast and comparisons with Mormon dress. Her work was supported by the University of Missouri Extension.

"I was asked to write on the project because few have done research like this, such as living with the Amish for a year," she said.

"Amish dress serves as both separator and identifier," Hawley said. "As a primary tenet, the Amish strive to be separate from the world and believe that appearance serves as a constant reminder of their beliefs."

Dress is an index of commitment to their beliefs in separatism, humility and avoidance of fashion, Hawley said of the Amish.

"Both men and women wear head coverings, hats for men, prayer caps and bonnets for women. Styles depend on the orthodoxy of the community," she said.

According to Heath, although veiling today focuses on the struggle between Islam and the West and between contemporary and traditional interpretations of Islam, veiling of women, of men and of sacred places and objects has existed in countless cultures and religions for centuries.

Source: Jana Hawley, 785-532-6993, hawleyj@k-state.edu
Photo available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Jane Marshall, 785-532-1519, jpm2@k-state.edu

This article was posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2008, and is filed under Apparel, Textiles, & Interior Design, College News.