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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Politics of the Veil

An exciting week for the Marcus Orr Center (Dr. Judaken's NPR interview with Joan Scott and a reading group discussion of her book "The Politics of the Veil") culminated with Dr. Joan Scott's lecture on the 2004 French ban on conspicuous religious clothing in public schools. This discussion of the French state's methods of dealing with it's colonial past and it's diverse present and future was extremely interesting, not least because of Dr. Scott's grasp of the issue and her insight into the various sociological elements at play. The lecture drew a large and diverse crowd, including a Swedish gender-studies student at UofM who mentioned having read Dr. Scott throughout her academic career and was delighted to have had the opportunity to meet her. Dr. Scott concluded with a very poised and open question and answer session that further illustrated how well she understood the topic of ethnic and gender discrimination as it applied to France and even as it applied to Western society more generally.

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