Dr. Julie Peteet

A&S "Meet the Professor" Lunch and Lecture. March 1, 2007

“Behind the Veil” by Dr. Julie Peteet, Department of Anthropology.

  • Thursday, March 1, 2007
  • 12 noon, University Club
  • Admission ($12 per person/check or cash) includes lunch.
  • Reservations are required.
  • Please contact Janna Tajibaeva at 852-2247 or janna@louisville.edu

"Behind the Veil"

What is the veil and what does it mean? Does the Quran, Islam's holy book, mandate that Muslim women veil? Tracing the historical origins of veiling from ancient Mesopotamia through early Islam to the present, we find that it has embodied a wide variety of seemingly contradictory meanings: status, wealth, piety, modesty, marginalization, empowerment, and political voice, among others.

What social conditions account for variations in veiling historically and cross culturally? About twenty five years ago, young Muslim women in the Middle East began to don the veil. How do we explain this phenomenon of the daughters of unveiled women adopting the veil? Is there one veil or are there many veils?

Dr. Julie Peteet


Julie Peteet is Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department and the winner of Fulbright and Mellon Fellowships. One of Dr. Peteet's main research interests is the political anthropology of the Middle East, where she lived for ten years and also where she conducted her dissertation research. Dr. Peteet also works on refugee studies and on Palestine.

Her most recent book Landscapes of Hope, Landscapes of Despair: Place and Identity in a Palestinian Camp ( University of Pennsylvania Press , 2005) examines the relationship between space, place, and identity in a refugee camp.

From University of Pennsylvania Press:

"Nearly half of the world's eight million Palestinians are registered refugees, having faced partition and exile. Landscape of Hope and Despair examines this refugee experience in Lebanon through the medium of spatial practices and identity, set against the backdrop of prolonged violence.

Julie Peteet explores how Palestinians have dealt with their experience as refugees by focusing attention on how a distinctive Palestinian identity has emerged from and been informed by fifty years of refugee history. Concentrating ethnographic scrutiny on a site-specific experience allows the author to shed light on the mutually constitutive character of place and cultural identification."

About the Meet the Professor Series

"Meet the Professor" is a monthly lunch and lecture series highlighting research and topics of interest in Arts and Sciences. Typically held on the first Thursday of the month at the University Club on the University of Louisville's Belknap Campus, the monthly series started in September 2006 as part of the college's Centennial celebration.