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Title: Voices of the masked : material culture, identity, and agency in the Gulf
Author: Goto, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 8670
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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The female face mask is one of the most visible representations of the Persian/Arabian Gulf's cultural heritage and regional material culture. While the black full-cover face veil is considered to be a symbol of Islamism or a form of pious resistance in today's Western world, the face mask, which is regionally known as burquʿ or baṭūla, carries an honour and pride strongly associated with identity. The wearing of the face mask has been practised for more than five hundred years in the eastern Arabian Peninsula, southern Iran, and East Africa, and this attests to diverse cultural exchanges through maritime trade and across historical territorial boundaries. This nautically spread custom was adapted and developed within each local environment and cultural context. This resulted in the emergence of different mask styles, colours, and designs, signifying wearers' identities composed of ethnic, religious, tribal, geographic, and socio-economic affiliations. However, due to regional and local issues (particularly sectarian rivalry and gender segregation), in-depth analytical research of the face mask has not been conducted thus far. Accordingly, this thesis investigates the links between the socio-cultural identities of women in the Gulf region and the role of the face mask by focusing on three main aspects: the symbolic meanings of the mask's material features, women's agency in relation to masking and unmasking, and the impact of national narratives on the use of the mask by women. In-depth ethnographic exploration of two contrasting case studies-Iran's Qeshm Island and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-provides new insights into contemporary women's lives and their relationship with the face mask.
Supervisor: Robins, C. ; Cooper, J. P. ; Onley, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Agency ; Culture ; Face Mask ; Gulf ; Identity ; Material Culture ; Women