Culture Diaspora and Modernity in Muslim Writing

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Writers of Muslim background are producing some of the most vibrant literary fiction of our time. From Rushdie and Kureishi--whose trailblazing, controversial books challenged the racial orthodoxies of the 1980s--to the new generation of Hamid, Aslam and Shamsie, these novelists explore their own multiple belongings and affiliations through the complex fictions they create. This collection reflects the variety of those fictions. Experts in English, South Asian, and postcolonial literatures address the nature of Muslim identity: its response to political realignments since the 1980s, its tensions between religious and secular models of citizenship, and its manifestation of these tensions as conflict between generations. In considering the perceptions of Muslims, contributors also explore the roles of immigration, class, gender, and national identity, as well as the impact of 9/11. Taken together, these essays push beyond the habitual populist 'framing' of Muslims as interlopers at odds with modernity, exposing the hide-bound, conservative assumptions underpinning such perspectives.Scholars of Muslim origin grapple with the role of art in navigating the chaotic contemporary experience: how one reconciles the impulses of the individual with the requirements of community; how one 'belongs' in the modern world.
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