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The Journal of Muslim-American Literature (JML) is a pilot project made possible by a United States Department of State grant. Its main purpose is to help establish the critical terms and parameters of Muslim-American literature/cultural production, clearly distinguishing it from any ethnic, racial or cultural identifier.
The critic Frederick J. Hoffman wrote: “If literature is important to history, it is not because it serves as a social document or as a footnote to political or intellectual history, but primarily because it is a culmination, a genuine means of realizing the major issues of its time”. This is the starting point for this journal, which is concerned with Muslim-American literature before and after September 11th 2001, certainly the most significant moment of the 21st century thus far, an event which has led to numerous military and political conflicts between the United States and the Islamic world.
Those conflicts have been accompanied by scores of non-fiction appraisals of what separates America and Islam, an opposition that remains as evident as it is hard to define. Whatever their starting point, the authors of these books invariably call on Muslims to liberate themselves from the apparent reactionary obtuseness of Islam. Calls to modernize, adapt, Westernize, Americanize, enter the 21st century, leave the 7th, abandon tradition, grasp the present, look to the future, enter modernity and forge ahead inform nearly all of these efforts. Many go further, purporting to be windows into the mind of the ‘Muslim’ – the chosen battleground for all that Islam ever was and is and the forces of the West, led by the United States.
How then do Muslim-Americans ‘realize’ this most significant event? What are the poetics of Muslim-American literature? To what extent is it ‘saturated’ with identifiable themes and preoccupations? Where are the fault lines between American and Muslim identity, and how are they expressed in cultural production?
The Journal of Muslim-American Literature welcomes scholarly considerations of these and similar questions, as well as poetry, essays and short fiction by Muslim-American writers.
Please send a 300 word proposal/abstract and a short bio to: email@example.com by 1 April 2011. Publication is planned for Fall 2011. Accepted proposals will receive notification by 1 May 2011, with completed papers expected by 1 October 2011.