Skip to main content

Behind the Veil in Arabia

Women in Oman

Through photographs and detailed case histories, Unni Wikan explores the strict segregation of women, the wearing of the burqa mask, the elaborate nuptial rituals, and the graceful quality of Oman’s social relations.

"Wikan does provide insights into the real position of these secluded and segregated women. . . . All this is interesting and valuable."—Ahdaf Soueif, Times Literary Supplement

"The book is detailed, insightful, and . . . engrossing. Anyone interested in the day-to-day triumphs and sorrows of women who live ’behind the veil’ will want to read this account."—Arab Book World

"Wikan, a fine ethnographer, has an eye for everything that is distinctive about the culture and . . . builds up a wholly convincing picture. Above all, there is a sustained attempt to penetrate the inner lives of these strangely serene people."—Frank H. Stewart, Wilson Quarterly

"This book will certainly be of interest to all scholars concerned with sexual identity in the Islamic world."—Henry Munson, American Anthropologist

328 pages | 23 halftones, 1 map, 1 line drawing | 6 x 9 | © 1982

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Gender and Sexuality

Middle Eastern Studies

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
A Note on Transliteration
Part I
1. Introduction: Finding Our Way
2. Sohar: The First Exotic Glimpse
3. The Town and Its People
Part II
4. Segregation of the Sexes: Concept and Practice
5. Socialization to the Practice of Segregation
6. The Burqa Facial Mask
7. Women’s World
8. Honor and Self-realization
9. The Xanith: A Third Gender Role?
Part III
10. Diverse Interests in Marriage Establishment
11. The Bride Should Be a Virgin, the Groom Should Be a Man
12. The Visit of an Undutiful Daughter
13. Portrait of a Marriage
14. Role-realization in Marriage
Appendix: A Framework for the Analysis

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press