Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

Vijay Prishad

Second Advisor

Janet Bauer

Third Advisor

Sara Kippur


This thesis is an effort to study a new area of what is known as the “headscarf affair” and the laws that have been written in response to it. Rather than simply state the facts over twenty years after the first “headscarf affair” “Look Who’s Talking: The Burqa Ban in France” investigates the way that France and the rest of the world create a discourse on the current matter at hand, supporting or opposing past, present and potentially future laws banning the headscarf. This is done in three parts, first through an analysis of other analytical essays, which discuss headscarf banning laws over the past twenty years by French authors and “non-French” authors. The second part focuses on film and documentaries created by French and “non-French” directors and filmmakers who are explaining the situation, and the third section is an analysis of activists within the state of France who both support and oppose the laws and the ways in which they do this. Ultimately there are conclusions to each part of the thesis, explaining that the conversation regarding the banning of headscarves in France is not bound to their own borders and that both within the state and outside it individual opinions are vastly varied. People find reasons for their beliefs in many different ways, and with those views go fourth in equally different and interesting manners. This thesis hopes to introduce a new way to look at the banning of headscarves in France and be a guide through what has previously been done.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.