In this 1998 book, Meyda Yegenoglu investigates the intersection between post-colonial and feminist criticism, focusing on the Western fascination with the veiled women of the Orient. She examines the veil as a site of fantasy and of nationalist ideologies and discourses of gender identity, analyzing travel literature, anthropological and literary texts to reveal the hegemonic, colonial identity of the desire to penetrate the veiled surface of 'otherness'. Representations of cultural difference and sexual difference are shown to be inextricably linked, and the figure of the Oriental woman to have functioned as the veiled interior of Western identity.
• Unique argument relating post-colonial and feminist discourses in one theory about Orientalism • Focuses on figure of the veiled woman as archetypal object of Western fascination • Combines literary and social science approaches
Introduction; 1. Mapping the field of colonial discourse; 2. Veiled fantasies: cultural and sexual difference in the discourse of orientalism; 3. Supplementing the Orientalist lack: European ladies in the harem; 4. Sartorial fabric-action: enlightenment and Western feminism; 5. The battle of the veil: women between Orientalism and nationalism.