Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Religious Studies

Second Department

Intercollegiate Media Studies

Reader 1

Esther Ching Kim

Reader 2

Gaston Espinosa

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Rights Information

© 2023 Maureen U Tchatchoua


The connection between religion, colonialism, and dress is a complex interplay rooted in historical contexts. Western clothing imposition on indigenous populations served as a tool for religious conversion and assimilation, reflecting the broader concept of the "civilizing mission." This essay explores the relationship's critical aspects and its impact on sartorial liberation, focusing on historical challenges. The thesis contends that religious groups like The Early Christian Church, 20th-century Iranian Muslims, and North American Rastafaris historically adopted the colonists' savior complex for modesty and resistance against societal impurities. It examines how clothing, including attire, grooming, and body adornment, functioned as visual communication, reinforcing social hierarchies and echoing colonial powers' dominance.