Two weeks ago, France officially banned the wearing of face-covering burquas and niqabs. This ban has sparked a widespread reaction by people all over the world who come down on either side of the issue.
The controversy over the veil ban in France speaks to larger questions about religion, culture, race, and immigration in modern-day France. “Racial France,” a recent issue from Public Culture, takes up some of these very questions. The issue is devoted to the place of postcolonial studies in the French archive and in current scholarship, shedding new light on the status of race and immigration in France today. The issue features an article from 2010 on the then proposed Burqua and Niquab ban, “Excluding Muslim Women: From Hijab to Niqab from School to Public Space,” by Sylvie Tissot. This article examines why a repressive policy toward Muslim women was unanimously embraced by the conservative majority and some left-wing leaders with so little protest. Read the article for free here.