Department of English UG Module Directory (2020)

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Writing Muslims

Level 6 (15 credits)

In the wake of the Rushdie affair, and especially following 9/11 and 7/7, Muslims have come to figure increasingly as secular modernity's fundamentalist Other. Beginning with Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and the controversy it sparked, the module will consider a range of contemporary literary representations of Muslims in the context of ongoing debate about the place of Islam in multicultural and largely secular western societies. We will explore how writers of Muslim heritage have responded to and reframed this context, focusing for example on the role of Islam in shaping identity; Islamophobic racism and strategies of anti-racism; the politics of free speech; terror and the 'war on terror'; and how race, gender, class, migration and generation impact on and intersect with Muslim identities. As well as developing skills in literary analysis, the module aims to foster an interdisciplinary approach to the texts; we will read them in relation to events that have placed Muslims in the spotlight as well as media coverage of these events, and alongside theoretical and critical material from a range of disciplines.

Preparing for this Module and Approximate Costs

Here are some ideas for how you might prepare for this module:

  1. You could dip into Peter Morey and Amina Yaqin's excellent book Framing Muslims: Stereotyping and Representation after 9/11 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011). This will be a key secondary text for the module.
  2. Claire Chambers' book of interviews with writers of Muslim heritage, British Muslim Fictions: Interviews with Contemporary Writers (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), would also be a very good starting point, as we'll be looking at work by several of the authors covered in this book.
  3. You could start exploring news stories relating to Muslims, as we will be reading our primary texts in relation to events that have placed Muslims in the spotlight, as well as media coverage of these events.
  4. You could get started on the primary reading which will include the novels listed below. These are the longest texts on the module; the others are shorter and include a memoir and some poetry: 
    Hanif Kureishi's The Black Album (1995) [NB please ensure you purchase the novel, not the play]
    Nadeem Aslam's Maps for Lost Lovers (2004)
    Leila Aboulela's Minaret (2005)
    Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007)
    Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire (2017)

You will need to buy primary texts costing approximately £50 in total, if purchased new and in recommended editions. However, please note that these costs can be reduced by purchasing items second-hand or borrowing them from the Library. 

No additional costs are anticipated for this module. 

Learning Context Long Seminar
Semester 1

1. Blog Entry (700 words), 25%
2. Essay (3,500 words), 75%

Mode of reassessment Standard
Contact Rehana Ahmed