2011-12 AM Representations of Muslims in Literature and Film after 9/11

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  • Time: Tue, 12:00 - 14:00
  • Venue: A06 0-009 [new venue!]
  • Lecturer: Daniel Sip and Anna Auguscik
  • Combination:: AM 2b, 3b, 4b, 10, 11

Course Description

The Representation of Muslims in the West through Literature, Film and the Arts has a history that can be traced back to the dawn of imperial expansion. It found a first major theoretical embracing within Edward W. Said's work on Orientalism and has since been developed further in the disciplines of sociology, political sciences, post-colonial studies, humanities, history and others. Since 9/11 (and the events in London coined 7/7) Muslims, the Arab world (if one can speak of such) and Islam has been discussed fervently against the background of terrorism. This had significant social impact on the societies spoken about but also left a strong mark on countries like Britain where Muslims of many origins and ethnicities found a home. In this course we will analyse three books (two novels and a non-fictional autobiographical account), and a movie - all of which were published after 9/11. We will try to understand the complex web of representation and reception which these works produce. Theories of Orientalism, Post-Colonial theory and theories of representation will be part of our toolkit.

Students should purchase and read in advance:

  • Moshin Hamid: The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Penguin: 2008)
  • H.M. Naqvi: Home Boy (Crown: 2009)
  • Shelina Zahra Janmohamed: Love in a Headscarf: Muslim woman seeks the One (Aurum Press: 2009)

[All three are available at the CvO Bookshop]

We will also provide a screening of Chris Morris' Four Lions (2010).

Additional materials for preparation, as well as the detailed syllabus, will be made available here.

Course Requirements: for 3 KP: regular attendance and an oral contribution in the form of a presentation

Requirements for 6 KP: as above, with a term paper of ca. 10 pp. based on the topic of the presentation.

Requirements for 9 KP: as above, with a term paper of ca. 15-20 pp. based on the topic of the presentation.

As part of the "Aktive Teilnahme" regulation:

Die aktive Teilnahme besteht aus folgenden Komponenten

  • regelmäßige Anwesenheit: max. 3 Abwesenheiten und gegebenenfalls Nacharbeit
  • Vor- und Nachbereitung des Seminarstoffs (z. B. Protokolle, Aufgaben, Vorbereitung/Lektüre von Texten)
  • Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Fragestellung aus dem Problembereich des Seminars, z.B. durch:
  • Übernahme von Impulsreferaten und
  • (nur falls Seminararbeit angestrebt, verschriftlicht, ansonsten als Teil der Präsentation) Entwicklung einer Research Paper Outline im Laufe des Semesters (die Zeitangaben verstehen sich als Empfehlungen): Wahl eines Themenbereichs (3.-5.Woche), Eingrenzung (ca. 8.-10.Woche), Abstract mit Fragestellung inkl. Forschungsbibliographie (RPO) (ca. 12.Woche), Vorstellung der Fragestellung in der letzten Semestersitzung.


Primary Material:

  • Moshin Hamid: The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Penguin: 2008)
  • H.M. Naqvi: Home Boy (Crown: 2009)
  • Shelina Zahra Janmohamed: Love in a Headscarf: Muslim woman seeks the One (Aurum Press: 2009)
  • Four Lions. 2010. Christopher Morris (dir.), 7 May 2010 (UK).

Secondary Material


01.11.11: Introduction

Introductory session

  • Muslim Profiling on Fox News
  • topics: representation, framing and context; the conflation of events such as 9/11, 7/7, and the 2006 Lebanon War

08.11.11: Marketing

A new Marketing Niche: Marketing Muslim Writing and the Muslim Writers Awards

Chambers, Claire. "Multi-Culti Nancy Mitfords and Halal Novelists: The Politics of Marketing Muslim Writers in the UK." Textus 23.2 (2010): 389-404. Print.

15.11.11: Love in a Headscarf

Discussion of Shelina Zahra Janmohamed's Love in a Headscarf: Muslim Woman Seeks the One

  • topics: front cover and paratext (blurbs, author's note etc.); difference between UK and US edition
  • frame: conversation over coffee; stereotypes (lists; suitors; Anne); discussion of 9/11

[choose topic for presentation]

22.11.11: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Narration, Characterisation

29.11.11: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Structure, Themes and Motifs

  • topics: themes in italics (indirect speech, distance, irony, emphasis)
  • (Presentation: Henning Gruchot)

06.12.11: Home Boy

Home Boy: Narration, Characterisation

  • topics: reliability, value-scheme; family & friendship; authorities
  • fights & tensions: Duck (p. 73), Brawlers (pp. 23-25), police (pp. 75-77), FBI (p. 99)
  • title: Home Boy, cf. "Am I a homwe boy?" (p. 64), "Go home, boy!" (p. 119)
  • (Presentation: Joana Determann; Maja Frick)

13.12.11: Home Boy

Home Boy: Structure, Themes and Motifs

  • topics: "before/after" structure (before and after 9/11; before and after detention)
  • comparison w/ The Reluctant Fundamentalist
  • (Presentation: Anna-Lena Braband)
    Film Screening: Four Lions, Monday, 19-12-2012, 20-22h, A6 2-212

20.12.11: Four Lions

Discussion of Four Lions

  • (Presentation: Michael Fricke)

[specify topic for RPO]

10.01.12: Orientalism

Edward W. Said: "The Scope of Orientalism". Orientalism. New York, NY: Vintage. 1977. 29-49.(1977)

  • (Presentation: Mark Wittenberg; Jens Jacobsen)
  • The theory of Orientalism
  • The 'application' of Orientalism

17.01.11: Veiling

Emma Tarlo: "Hijab in London: Metamorphosis, Resonance and Effects." Journal of Material Culture. 12.2 (2007): 131–156. Print]

24.01.12: Multiculturalism

Peter Morey, Amina Yaqin. "Muslims, Multiculturalism, and the Media." Framing Muslims. Cambridge et.al.: Harvard UP, 2011. 44-78. Print.

  • (Presentation: Kirstin Bogat - TRF; Rianne Wascher - LH)
  • differences in UK and US history and perspecives on "multiculturalism"
  • multiculturalism in The Reluctant Fundamentalist
  • multiculturalism in Love in a Headscarf

[Hand in RPOs until 30 January]

31.01.12: Discussion I

Critical Discussion I:

  • Love in a Headscarf and Questions of Representation (& Does My Head Look Big In This?, cf. Spirit21)
  • (Presentation: Christin Marie Sajons; Louisa-Marie Winkler)
  • W.J.T. Mitchell, "Representation" (1990)
  • Stuart Hall, Representation (1997)

Excursus: Muslim Writers Awards

07.02.12: Discussion II

Critical Discussion II

  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist vs. Syriana, Context
  • (Presentation: Nils Rademacher; Tim Jentzen)

16.02.12: Final Discussion & Term Papers

Discussing Term Paper Projects

Further Reading

  • Shelina Janmohamed's Blog
  • Baudrillard, Jean. The Spirit of Terrorism. London: Verso, 2002. Print.
  • Bayoumi, Mustafa. "The Race Is On: Muslims and Arabs in the American Imagination." Middle East Report Online: Interventions (March 2010). <http://www.merip.org/mero/interventions/race>.
  • Chambers, Claire. British Muslim Fictions: Interviews with Contemporary Writers. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.
  • Cilano, Cara. "Manipulative Fictions: Democratic Futures in Pakistan." From Solidarity to Schisms: 9/11 and after in Fiction and Film from Outside the Us. Ed. Cilano, Cara. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi, 2009. 201-18. Print.
  • Hall, Stuart: Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage, 1997. [C.v.O. library: asl 083 CC 5287]
  • Hartnell, Anna. "Moving through America: Race, Place and Resistance in Mohsin Hamid's the Reluctant Fundamentalist." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 46.3-4 (2010): 336-48. Print.
  • Mitchell, W.J.T. "Representation." Critical Terms for Literary Study. Eds. F. Lentricchia and T. McLaughlin. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1995 (1990). Print.
  • Modood, Tariq. Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea. Cambridge: Polity, 2007. Print.
  • Morey, Peter. "'The Rules of the Game Have Changed': Mohsin Hamid's the Reluctant Fundamentalist and Post-9/11 Fiction." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 47.2 (2011): 135-46. Print.
  • Olsson, Karen. "I Pledge Allegiance " New York Times: Sunday Book Review (2007). Web. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/22/books/review/Olsson.t.html?_r=1&oref=slogin>.
  • Rahman, Saeed ur. "Success of Understatement." The News International: Literati (Karachi) 29 April 2007. Web. <http://mohsinhamid.com/trfthenewsreview.html>
  • Said, Edward W. Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World. London: Vintage, 1997. Print.
  • Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1977. Print.
  • Said, Edward W. "Orientalism." The Edward Said Reader. Eds. Bayoumi, Moustafa and Andrew Rubin. New York: Vintage, 2000. Print.
  • Scanlan, Margaret. "Migrating from Terror: The Postcolonial Novel after September 11." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 46.3-4 (2010): 266-78. Print.