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    Naked or Covered: A History of Dressing and Undressing Around the World

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    In the past, an African tribesman merely needed to wrap a string around his hips to be correctly dressed, while a devout woman was considered naked in many cultures if her head remained uncovered.

    Throughout history, different cultures and religions have developed codes to control nakedness, giving rise to various ideas of what it means to be dressed. Now, in a time of globalization, we are confronted by a variety of perspectives on dress: not just what to wear, but who wears it, why and how.

    Advertisers rely on the female nude to sell everything; wearing a traditional khadi kurta vs. a Western-style suit can send a powerful political message; violent protests take place against the idea of nakednesss, yet nakedness is a form of protest; and contemporary interpretations of religious edicts are met with bafflement, bigotry or outright bans.

    Using an engaging mixture of anecdote and historical interpretation, Naked or Covered: A History of Dressing and Undressing Around the World brilliantly dissects our contradictory attitudes to bodily exposure and concealment through time and across cultures. Mineke Schipper’s detailed prose is complemented by aptly chosen photographs and paintings which bring this fascinating history to life.

    Mineke Schipper is Emeritus Professor of Intercultural Literary Studies at the University of Leiden. She taught at the Université Libre du Congo and has held visiting professorships in Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso and China. She has a Royal Order of Knighthood for ‘building intercultural bridges nationally and internationally, inside and outside the academy’ from The Netherlands. She continues her scholarly work at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS). She is the author of several academic books, essays and novels, including the internationally acclaimed Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet: Women in Proverbs from Around the World, for which she received the Eureka Prize for best non-fiction book in 2005.