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Islam and Postcolonial Literature – Edited collection of essays
full name / name of organization:
Esra Mirze Santesso and James McClung / University of Georgia
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Religion has long been a marginal topic in postcolonial studies. Robert Young has observed, “an absolute division between the material and the spiritual operates within postcolonial studies, emphasizing the degree to which the field is distinguished by an unmediated secularism, opposed to and consistently excluding the religious that have taken on the political identity of providing alternative value-systems to those of the west.” In particular, Islam, outside the fundamentalist or extremist expressions, has been absent from critical conversations. Far too often in postcolonial scholarship—and indeed, in literary studies generally— Islam is identified as simply a form of oppression or as a vehicle for political manipulation. A tendency within postcolonial scholarship to link Islam with terrorism, and an overwhelming focus on radical manifestations of the faith, has led to a complete disregard for moderate positions within that faith community. Such critical formulations are obviously counter-productive: the absence of a range of Islamic subjectivities within postcolonial scholarship has created a void where misinterpretations and hostilities thrive, and where faith becomes synonymous with violence. This lack of discussion persists even as Muslim immigration to the West continues to increase and as Islam becomes an ever-more central part of modern Western life and culture.
With this in mind, we seek submissions which explore various depictions of Islam and Muslim identity in postcolonial literature. The possible topics include but are not limited to the study of
This collection does not intend to intensify or indeed even enter into the sensationalistic debate about Muslim “allegiances.” Nor does it aim to treat the Muslim subject as an uncomplicated, uniform entity. Rather, it aims to understand the impediments to the integration of the Muslim “Other” in the current cultural/political climate and analyze the way literature responds to such apprehensions through an empathetic lens.