Event — IIAS lecture

Garment Nation: Gender, Religiosity and Industrial Life in Bangladesh

A lecture by Professor Dina M. Siddiqi from New York University, USA.

This lecture takes place in the IIAS Conference room from 15:00 – 16:30 p.m.; it will not be streamed or recorded.

Everyone is most welcome to attend, but we kindly ask you to register as seating is limited.


The female garment worker – an iconic figure in the national imagination and discursively tasked with saving the national economy through her public, visible labor – has emerged as an especially dense site of debate and signification in contemporary Bangladesh.

In her lecture, Prof. Dina Siddiqi traces the ideological labor that garment workers, or rather their sartorial practices, have come to perform for the secular intelligentsia, as well as for Islamists, in national as well as transnational spaces. Dina suggests that workers’ sartorial shifts function as an informal index of secularity or its absence. She offers an analysis of why the veiled garment worker carries a specific charge and becomes the object of both fear and potential rescue. She juxtaposes this with ethnographic accounts of how young working-class women navigate the competing discursive economies in which they are embedded and offers a situated reading of parda (practices of covering). Dina builds on but also moves beyond insights from existing scholarship on the anthropology of Islam to suggest new ways of conceptualizing gendered labor subjectivities.

The Speaker

Dr Dina M. Siddiqi teaches in the Faculty of Liberal Studies, New York University. A cultural anthropologist by training, her research joins critical development studies, transnational feminist theory, and the anthropology of labor and Islam. She has published extensively on the global garment industry, non-state gender justice systems, and the cultural politics of Islam and nationalism in Bangladesh. Her publications are available at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dina-Siddiqi. Professor Siddiqi sits on the editorial boards of Contemporary South AsiaDialectical Anthropology, Asian Anthropology, and The Journal of Bangladesh Studies. She is on the board of Sakhi for South Asian Women, NYC, on the Executive Committee of the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies (AIBS), and an Advisory Council member of the South Asian feminist network, Sangat.  Professor Siddiqi holds a PhD from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and a BA from Wellesley College.

Registration (required)

Everyone is welcome to attend, but we kindly ask you to register to reserve your seat. Please use the web form on this page to register.