ENGL 268
Being American, Being Muslim: American Muslim Literature in the 21st century Spring 2019 Division I; Difference, Power, and Equity; Cross-listed as AMST266 / REL266 / ENGL268 / COMP228

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Islam and Muslims in the United States are the subject of extensive public scrutiny and media coverage in broader public discourses. It is less common, however, to hear Muslims’ own voices speak about their lives, experiences, beliefs, and commitments. This course will take a literary approach to exploring American Muslims’ own narratives about themselves. We will address questions such as: How have American Muslims understood their identity in the wake of 9/11? What are the pressures and demands of American national belonging and cultural citizenship that Muslims must navigate? How are race, gender, ethnic heritage, and immigration definitive of Muslim experiences and self-understandings? What are the competing claims and contestations about authentic expressions of Islam? How are Muslims approaching the tensions between communal belonging and individuality? We will be engaging such questions primarily through an analysis of popular memoirs, autobiographies, novels, and short stories, but will also explore some plays, films, poetry, and comedy.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: none
Expected: 20
Class#: 3980
Requirements/Evaluation: regular reading responses, two short essays (3-4 pages), final presentation, and final paper (7-8 pages)
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: none
Distributions: Division I; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under REL or AMST; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP or ENGL. DPE: This course will explore the many complex intersections of power in American Muslim life, such as: Muslims as a religious minority in the context of the War on Terror; racial and ethnic differences internal to Muslim communities; immigration and national belonging; competing claims to religious authenticity and authority; and conflicting gendered norms. Students will learn to identify these multiple layers and configurations and power and difference in the texts that we will read, and how to analyze their workings in nuanced multidimensional ways

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