Appropriating the keffiyeh

National identity can express itself in various ways in popular culture and daily life, including architectural styles, food, sport – and clothing. The keffiyeh headscarf is one of the most recognizable political items of clothing, coming to represent first Arab and then Palestinian national identity.

The undergraduate students in the Nationalism class that I taught this past semester all prepare a 10 minute i-movie on a topic of their choosing. Zainab Khan made this presentation exploring the struggle for ‘ownership’ of the keffiyeh over the past 10 years. Western fashion houses started using keffiyeh fabric in their designs, and then some Israeli designers started using it – with a Star of David motif.



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