Islam in Contemporary Literature: Jihad, Revolution, Subjectivity
Suitable for the classroom but completely accessible to the general reader, this volume presents many of the most interesting authors writing today from an Islamic background—Kamel Daoud, Yasmine el Rashidi, Hisham Matar, Tahar Djaout, Mohsin Hamid, Hanif Kureishi, Edward Said, Driss Chaibi, Kamila Shamsie, Tahar ben Jelloun, Leila Aboulela, Abdellah Taïa, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Hisham Matar, Eboo Patel, Reza Aslan, and Tamim Ansary, among others—who embody the various strains of Islamic interpretation and conflict. This study discusses an ongoing Reformation in Islam, focusing on the Arab Spring, the role of women and sexuality, the “clash of civilizations,” assimilation and cosmopolitanism, jihad, pluralism across cultures, free speech and apostasy. In an atmosphere of political and religious awakening, these authors search for a voice for individual rights while nations seek to restore a “disrupted destiny.” Questions of “de-Arabization” of the religion, ecumenicism, comparative modernities, and the role of literature thread themselves throughout the chapters of the book.
John C. Hawley is Professor of English at Santa Clara University, USA. Former President of the South Asian Literary Association and currently on the executive committee of the African Literature Association, he is the author of many journal articles and the editor of 16 books, including The Postcolonial Crescent; Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies; Historicizing Christian Encounters with the Other; and The Postcolonial and the Global. A former member of three executive committees for the Modern Language Association, and twice Chair of his department, he served as a Fulbright scholar at Humboldt University in Berlin, and was a Resident at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio.
“In this current historical and political moment, Hawley reminds us that Muslims are positioned in relation to their own class and cultural identities; their own histories; their sensitivity to the diversity of cultural traditions and to the questions and conflicts within them; their own relations to the West; their interpretations of religious law; and their concepts of the role of women in contemporary society. For me, the most compelling aspect of Hawley’s books is his study of issues that concern Muslim women and that have brought Muslim women to the attention of international organizations, such as rights, citizenship, and circumcision.”
Nyla Ali Khan
Author, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir
“Islam in Contemporary Literature revisits the overpoliticization of “clash” and opposing contentions; it highlights and questions human mêléé of today along human historical intolerance and mutual ignorance not only between but within the East and the West, Orient and Occident, Self and Other. Analyzed through a literary-cum-cultural lens, John Hawley dissects the stereotypical and caliphal religiosities or secularities that surround pre- and post-9/11 extremities, be they based on Islamophobic or crusading mindsets. This book explores Islam’s “ecumenical” wisdom statistically and discursively, while diverse literary, fictional and reflective voices from the modern Islamic world and its nationalistic pluralities (Said, Tahir, Hamid, Shamsie, Eltoukhy, Chraïbi, Rushdie, Aslan and many others) are researched to challenge the monolithic interpretations that refuse transcendence over orthodox (mis)understanding. Cross-disciplinary in spirit, the volume foregrounds dangers of (mis)reading religions generically or myopically, asking for an appraisal of underlying multiplicities in the form of “freshly-imagined” and reshaping communities. Doing so, Islam in Contemporary Literature foregrounds the human spirit of being faithful. The book is a must-“consult” for researchers who contest prevalent reductionist, prejudiced, parochial, bigoted or patriarchal attitudes.”
Professor of English, Lahore, Pakistan
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