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Conferences & lectures

The (In)Visibility and Hyper-Visibility of Muslim Women: The Experience of Niqab-Wearing Women in Canada

The Simone de Beauvoir Summer Institute presents: Natasha Bakht

Date & time

Thursday, May 18, 2017
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.


Natasha Bakht


This event is free


Finn Purcell


John Molson Building
1450 Guy Room MB 1.210

Wheelchair accessible


The Simone de Beauvoir Summer Institute presents Natasha Bakht:

In at least four episodes involving niqab-wearing women, Canada has expressed a growing agitation about Muslim women who cover their faces. The depth of discomfort evoked by these women and their outward markers of religiosity is extraordinary and results in a wide range of rationalizations as to why their choice of clothing must be banned. I offer a critical examination of these four prohibitions of the niqab, revealing incongruous messages about niqab-wearing women. By discussing their plight, my hope is that we might focus our gaze inward and begin to better understand ourselves.
                                                                                                            – Natasha Bakht


About Natasha Bakht
Natasha Bakht is an associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa where she teaches family law, criminal law and multiculturalism issues in the law. She was called to the bar of Ontario in 2003 and served as a law clerk to Justice Louise Arbour at the Supreme Court of Canada. Her legal scholarship explores religious freedom and equality issues faced by Muslim and other marginalized women in Canada. Her research on the niqab analyzes the unwarranted popular panic concerning Muslim women who cover their faces, and explores systemic barriers to inclusion perpetuated by Canada’s legal and political system. One of her articles on the rights of niqab-wearing women was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of R v NS, 2012 SCC 72. Natasha’s legal activism includes involvement with the National Association of Women and the Law, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Together with her friend and colleague Lynda Collins, she recently stretched the legal boundaries of family by becoming legal co-mothers of their son, though they are not in a conjugal relationship. She is the current English Language Editor of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law (CJWL) and an Indian contemporary dancer and choreographer.

About the Summer Institute
The Summer Institute is a week-long feminist course approached from a multi-disciplinary perspective (humanities, social sciences, visual and performing arts). Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as community members are welcome to attend, either for credit or as a conference. The Summer Institute consists of workshops, panels and discussions led by a diversity of instructors and speakers from within and outside Concordia.

The 2017 Summer Institute theme reflects a desire to address crucial and timely issues. In/visible bodies can be disappeared, murdered, imprisoned, medicalized, othered, racialized, veiled, gendered, trans, queer, disabled, aging, migrating, sex working, creating, performing, and resisting. The course focuses on, and mobilizes participants and instructors around women/bodies that intersecting systems of oppression render in/visible.

Register for the summer institute online now! 

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