Islam and Muslimness in Contemporary Literature and Culture

deadline for submissions: 
June 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Maria Mothes/Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA)
contact email: 

*CfP still open*


Special Session

Presiding Officer/Panel Chair: Maria Mothes (University of Koblenz, Germany)



The panel invites papers discussing texts that shape the perception and representation of Muslimness and/or Islam in contemporary literature. Global, transnational, and comparative perspectives are welcome.



This panel seeks to contextualize the current position of Muslims in Western societies as either marginalized or made hypervisible. More often than not, portrayals of Muslims in the media or popular culture focus on the adherents of the imagined category of ‘Islam,’ rendering the people behind this category invisible. In light of the all-to-common binary distinctions (secular/religious, moderns/traditional, etc.), this panel seeks to contemplate ways toward “a religious literacy that does not overdetermine the role of religion” (Rashid 61). Instead of the either/or trap, an epistemological approach allowing us to trace ‘both/and’ is sought out “since the most common Muslim life is lived amidst a congeries of various laws and norms” (Reinhart 8). The panel seeks to create a space for dialogue about how contemporary literature negotiates holistic but also nuanced identities and how Muslimness is depicted as part of the spectrum of the human experience. Moreover, the panel invites papers investigating the role of literature in shaping the perception and representation of religion and how literature thus contributes to shifting perspectives on Islam and Muslimness.

Please submit abstract proposals using the PAMLA online submission form (you will have to go to to login or create an account first). Please note: PAMLA is an entirely in-person conference.

If you have questions or encounter problems submitting your abstract, please contact: Maria Mothes (University of Koblenz, Germany) at: