Culture, Diaspora, and Modernity in Muslim Writing
Edited by Rehana Ahmed, Peter Morey, Amina Yaqin
Routledge – 2012 – 242 pages
Fiction by writers of Muslim background forms one of the most diverse, vibrant and high-profile corpora of work being produced today - from the trail-blazing writing of Salman Rushdie and Hanif Kureishi, which challenged political and racial orthodoxies in the 1980s, to that of a new generation including Mohsin Hamid, Nadeem Aslam and Kamila Shamsie. This collection reflects the variety of those fictions. Experts in English, South Asian, and postcolonial literatures address the nature of Muslim identity: its response to political realignments since the 1980s, its tensions between religious and secular models of citizenship, and its manifestation of these tensions as conflict between generations. In considering the perceptions of Muslims, contributors also explore the roles of immigration, class, gender, and national identity, as well as the impact of 9/11.
This volume includes essays on contemporary fiction by writers of Muslim origin and non-Muslims writing about Muslims. It aims to push beyond the habitual populist 'framing' of Muslims as strangers or interlopers whose ways and beliefs are at odds with those of modernity, exposing the hide-bound, conservative assumptions that underpin such perspectives. While returning to themes that are of particular significance to diasporic Muslim cultures, such as secularism, modernity, multiculturalism and citizenship, the essays reveal that 'Muslim writing' grapples with the same big questions as serve to exercise all writers and intellectuals at the present time: How does one reconcile the impulses of the individual with the requirements of community? How can one 'belong' in the modern world? What is the role of art in making sense of chaotic contemporary experience?
Selected Contents: Introduction Rehana Ahmed, Peter Morey and Amina Yaqin 1. Writing Muslims and the Global State of Exception Stephen Morton Part 1: Writing the Self 2. Bad Faith: The Construction of Muslim Extremism in Ed Husain’s The Islamist Anshuman A. Mondal 3. Reason to Believe? Two ‘British Muslim’ Memoirs Rehana Ahmed 4. Voyages Out and In: Two (British) Arab Muslim Women’s Bildungsromane Lindsey Moore Part 2. Migrant Islam 5. Infinite Hijra: Migrant Islam, Muslim American Literature, and the Anti-Mimesis of The Taqwacores Salah D. Hassan 6. Muslims as Multicultural Misfits in Nadeem Aslam’s Maps for Lost Lovers Amina Yaqin 7. ‘Sexy Identity-Assertion’: Choosing between Sacred and Secular Identities in Robin Yassin-Kassab’s The Road from Damascus Claire Chambers Part 3: (Mis)reading Muslims 8. Writing Islam in Post-9/11 America: John Updike’s Terrorist Anna Hartnell 9. Invading Ideologies and the Politics of Terror: Framing Afghanistan in The Kite Runner Kristy Butler 10. Representation and Realism: Monica Ali’s Brick Lane Sara Upstone Part 4: Culture, Politics and Religion 11. From ‘the Politics of Recognition’ to ‘the Policing of Recognition’: Writing Islam in Hanif Kureishi and Mohsin Hamid Bart Moore-Gilbert 12. Resistance and Religion in the Work of Kamila Shamsie Ruvani Ranasinha 13. Mourning Becomes Kashmira: Islam, Melancholia, and the Evacuation of Politics in Salman Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown Peter Morey
Rehana Ahmed is Lecturer in English Studies at the University of Teesside, UK.
Peter Morey is Reader in English Literature, School of Social Sciences, Media and Cultural Studies, University of East London, UK.
Amina Yaqin is Lecturer in Urdu and Postcolonial Studies, Department of South Asia, SOAS, UK.