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To Wear, to Wander, and to Write: Women’s Subjectivity and the Jilbab in Asma Nadia’s Jilbab Traveler

Papers (in PDF) | Open Access

By Ramayda Akmal

In this article: Jilbab Traveler Asma Nadia
Published in Atlantis Press – Journal,
Nov 07, 2023

Since the last decade, travelogues written by Muslim women that discuss religiously motivated journeys have constituted a significant portion of contemporary Indonesian literature. Apart from conveying information about distant worlds, they predominantly reflect the subjectivity of their authors. These writings capture how Muslim women construct their subjectivity through expressing their appearances, especially the Jilbab while traveling and encountering the Other. One prominent example is the book Jilbab Traveler (2009), written by Asma Nadia and 12 other Muslim women, in which the authors record their journeys to various countries worldwide. This research relies on concepts related to travel literature, subjectivity, and fashion. As a method, it utilizes discourse analysis. Thereby, it provides an insight into the subjectivity constructions among the book’s authors by examining how they wear their Jilbab when they are on their journeys and write about it. This study finds that Jilbab emerges as an arena for contestation and negotiation between the idea of being cosmopolitan on one side and the idea of Jilbab as a narrow, closed, and inferior attribute of the Other.

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