Former HOMInGer Sara Bonfanti has just published a chapter titled “The fabric of diasporic designs: wearing Punjabi suits home and away among South Asian women in Europe” within the volume edited by V. Thimm, (Re-)Claiming Bodies Through Fashion and Style: Gendered Configurations in Muslim Contexts, pp. 215-239, Palgrave 2021.
In the face of a changing cultural attire, Sara’s original study unstitches the salwar-kameez as an ethnic garb that stands at the crossroad of South Asian identities and intercepts the discourse on Islamic wear but does not resolve there. Seeing how this dress is produced and consumed, worn and made meaningful in the life-stories of three diaspora women, as well as debated in a larger cohort of South Asian respondents, will provide new fabric for thought. […] The fashion habits and rumination of interlocutors also called into question the mimetic praxis of the ethnographer herself in conducting fieldwork: what entitlement could she claim in wearing (or not) a Punjabi suit while hanging out with participants?
This book investigates ways of dressing, style and fashion as gendered and embodied, but equally as “religionized” phenomena, particularly focusing on one significant world religion: Islam. Through their clothing, Muslims negotiate concepts and interpretations of Islam and construct their intersectionally interwoven position in the world. Taking the interlinkages between ‘fashionized religion,’ ‘religionized fashion,’ commercialization and processes of feminization as a starting point, this book reshapes our understanding of gendered forms of religiosity and spirituality through the lens of gender and embodiment. Focusing mainly on the agency and creativity of women as they appropriate ways of performing and interpreting various modalities of Muslim clothing and body practices, the book investigates how these social actors deal with empowering conditions as well as restrictive situations.
Foregrounding contemporary scholars’ diverse disciplinary, theoretical and methodological approaches, this book problematizes and complicates the discursive and lived interactions and intersections between gender, fashion, spirituality, religion, class, and ethnicity. It will be relevant to a broad audience of researchers across gender, sociology of religion, Islamic and fashion studies.