Whether Angel or Devil: Law's Knowing and Unknowing of Veiled Muslim Women in the Case of R v. N.S.

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Creator: 

Rochelle, Safiyah

Date: 

2013

Abstract: 

In this thesis, I examine the recent Canadian Supreme Court case of R v. N.S., wherein a woman sought to have her right to wear a face-veil while testifying affirmed by the Court, under her Charter rights to freedom of religion. This case involves questions of religious freedom and fair trial rights, the rights and roles of sexual assault victims and witnesses, and the bounds of accommodation and toleration. I argue that the discourse in the case, from legal actors such as counsel for N.S. and the accuseds, Crown attorneys, and the justices of the Court, operates as a lens through which conceptions of identity, otherness, nationhood, and veiled Muslim women become refracted and known. Ultimately, I claim that these forms of knowledge not only construct and reinscribe binary modes of thinking about veiled Muslim women, but also allow for and result in the eliding of N.S.’s subjectivity and agency.

Subject: 

SOCIAL SCIENCES Law

Language: 

English

Publisher: 

Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 
M.A.

Thesis Degree Level: 

Master's

Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Legal Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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