With her excellent ethnographic research and her sympathetic analysis, Anna Piela has shed much-needed light on Muslim niqab-wearing women. Her book is of great value to a wide variety of scholarly and lay readers, and I strongly recommend it.
Shabana Mir, American Islamic College, USA
A landmark study, providing a rich and nuanced examination of niqab-wearing women…Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand women’s niqab journeys.
Line Nyhagen, Loughborough University, UK
Piela uses interviews with British and. American niqabis to address a lacuna in Islamic and fashion studies and in doing so finds important insights about the role of agency, authority, race, and identity in religious covering.
Liz Bucar, Northeastern University, USA
Women who wear the niqab are often spoken about but rarely spoken to. Amid the noise of ill-informed and opinionated media debate, at last we have a scholarly book that gives Muslim women an opportunity to articulate their own perspectives, written with intelligence and sensitivity.
Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Cardiff University, UK
The material is gripping. This book is a balanced, yet devastating, critique of both the reasons women wear it and the discrimination they have to face. It has had a powerful impact on my own understanding of the niqab.
James Huffman, Wittenberg University, USA
My other publications about the niqab
Wearing the Niqab is not just the book; it's a wider research project that explores the perspectives of women who choose to wear the Niqab. My articles about niqab wearing have been published in the Journal of American Academy of Religions, New Media and Society, Hawwa: Journal of Women in the Middle East and the Islamic World and Feminist Media Studies. My chapters that discuss the niqab are also included in two edited collections published this year: Cyber Muslims and Digital Religion 2.0.
Please contact me for copies of these publications if you do not have access to the publishers' databases, and check out my ResearchGate account where the pre-pub article versions are available.
MY OTHER PROJECTS
(2022-) Whiteness and conversion to Islam in Poland
This project is an offshoot of the 2017-2021 project, and focuses on the question of Whiteness/race, which was not addressed in the larger project. Dr. Joanna Krotofil (Jagielonian University) and I trace how Polish White Female Converts strategically deploy their Whiteness in different multiracial and transnational settings. This project is funded by the 2022 American Academy of Religion Collaborative International Research Grant.
(2020-) Muslim Women's Religious Practice during the COVID-19 Pandemic
This is a collaboration with Dr. Joanna Krotofil (Jagiellonian University). We investigate the consequences of the lockdown for pluralist Muslim women.
Our talk at George Mason University:
We also just published an article in Religions.
(2017-2021) Managing Spoiled Identity: Social Functioning of Polish Female Converts to Islam
A collaborative investigation (with Katarzyna Górak-Sosnowska, Joanna Krotofil, and Beata Abdallah-Krzepkowska) into identities of Polish women converts who live in Poland or the UK. We are writing a book together. As of 2021, we had two articles accepted by Sociology of Religion and the Journal of Contemporary Religions.
(2005-2009) Muslim Women Online
QUALITATIVE & QUANTITATIVE
RELIGIOUS & GENDER STUDIES SOCIOLOGY
PROPOSALS & APPLICATIONS
ACADEMIC & NON-ACADEMIC
CONFERENCES & INTERVIEWS
EDUCATION, MEDIA AND BUSINESS
IN THE MEDIA
Interviews, contributions, and mentions
The New York Times, January 13, 2022
"England Unwrapped: It's all in the eyes" - BBC Local Radio, Dec 22, 2020
I was invited by the program's author, Ruchi Tandon, to share some findings from my research on how women who wear the niqab are dealing with the pandemic, social distancing, and widespread mask-wearing.
Interview for the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project, July 28, 2020
The Guardian, July 18, 2020
"Dr Anna Piela, an academic and author of Wearing The Niqab (out next January), has reinterviewed some of her contributors since the start of the pandemic. Many told her they have found greater acceptance now that more people are covering up, she says. Loubna (a pseudonym) from Birmingham, says: “I went to a park the other day, and it felt completely different. (...)” more
An interview on the Drive Time Show on Voice of Islam Radio
Talking about the niqab in the context of the UK's new requirement to wear masks in public spaces
The New York Times, June 10, 2020
"Anna Piela, a visiting scholar in religious studies and gender at Northwestern University, has noted that Muslim women she interviewed said they find it easier to wear masks because it has softened the stigma of face coverings. 'Suddenly these women - who are often received in the West with open hostility for covering their faces - look a lot more like everyone else,' she wrote in an article in May (...)" more
TRT World, April 13, 2020
"As Northwestern University scholar Anna Piela points out in an article for the Conversation, Muslim women are finding themselves looking a lot like everyone else.
'Now, in an unexpected turn of events, people across the West are jogging in face masks and grocery shopping in bandanas tied across their mouths. That’s making public life in the niqab much more pleasant, say Muslim women.' Piela wrote."
My article on a #VogueChallenge cover made by @StockholmJilbabista
The best endorsement a is to be organically cited. Other examples include my work in syllabi of cool courses like
Veiling in the Muslim World (University of Texas);
Women in Scriptures (University of Texas);
Gender and Communication (Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism);
Intro to Gender Studies 125 (Manchester Metropolitan University, IN);
ART4001 Critical Debates: Photography (Middlesex University, UK)
Students leave my courses having mastered the skills to engage with critical concepts in the context of their personal experience. Demonstrating a great deal of scientific curiosity, they often develop remarkable answers to well-posed questions about social reality.
Using research to problem-solve
Connecting theoretical problems to life outside the classroom is one of the most important aspects of my teaching. It underscores students’ potential for social change in a wide range of contexts.
Critiquing power hierarchies
I place accounts of power at the center of my work. I aim to expose bias in academic disciplines and show how it may be overcome. I encourage students to become familiar with diverse perspectives beyond the usual canon.
I encourage students to question normative narratives in politics, media and their own social environments. In order to facilitate this, I help them develop vocabulary to discuss inequality in such ways as to remain respectful and appreciative of diversity. By independently building on the knowledge acquired in the classroom, they emerge as socially conscious, fair, and empathetic citizens.