Cornelia Goethe Centrum

Cornelia Goethe Colloquium: „On High Heels and Face-Veils: The Ambivalent Gendered Racialization of Muslims in the Netherlands“ with Annelies Moors on May 05, 2021

The lecture On High Heels and Face-Veils: The Ambivalent Gendered Racialization of Muslims in the Netherlands with Annelies Moors (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands) will take place on May 05, 2021 von from 6:15 pm to 7:45 pm.

To take part in the lecture via Zoom-Webinar you need to register through the following link:

Everybody who is interested is cordially invited. Further information can be found in the program booklet.

On High Heels and Face-Veils: The Ambivalent Gendered Racialization of Muslims in the Netherlands

Language: English

If face-veils are considered a sign of women’s oppression because only women wear them, what about high heels? The strongly affective responses that this rhetorical question evoked, are my starting point to analyze how Muslims in the Netherlands have become racialized and how such processes of racialization are gendered. Focusing on face-veiling, I trace how this sartorial practice has, in Foucauldian terms, become problematized (that is, turned into a problem in need of governmental intervention), and explore how the women concerned relate to this.

Theoretically, I use the concept of racialization as a multilayered and relational process of embodied differentiation. Racialization both produces the Muslim and the non-Muslim (‘the Dutch self’) as inverse mirror images of each other, and differentiates in various ways between the acceptable and non-acceptable Muslim. These processes of racialization have a long history, as part of nation-state formation and the governance of (post-)colonial populations. Yet they are also ambivalent and unstable. As my analysis indicates, face-veiling women are problematized both as victims of their own men (in need of saving) and as provocateurs, rejecting central Dutch values, while sartorial practices are evaluated in terms of ‘free choice’ (high heels) or ‘by force’ (face veils) depending also the positionalities of the wearers.

ANNELIES MOORS is an anthropologist and professor emerita of contemporary Muslim societies at the University of Amsterdam. She studied Arabic in Syria and has done fieldwork in Palestine, in Yemen and in the Netherlands. She has written about migrant domestic labor, Muslim dress and fashion, marriage and gold, Muslim family law, and the racialization and securitization of Muslims.

Time & Location

05.05.2021, 18-20h c.t.

Registration for the webinar is required:

The recording is available in the course of the following week on the Homepage of the CGC and the YouTube-Channel of the center.

Current information about the colloquia and COVID-19

Due to the currently unforeseeable developments of COVID-19, the Cornelia Goethe Centrum reserves the right to postpone events at short notice. Please inform yourself about the time, place and format of the colloquia before the event starts at:



Cornelia Goethe Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (CGC)
Concept: Meltem Kulaçatan, Helma Lutz, Marianne Schmidbaur
Coordination: Lucas Schucht

We would like to thank our cooperation partners for their support of the lecture series!