ENGL 268
Being Muslim, Being American: American Muslim Literature in the 21st century Fall 2021
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed REL 166 / AMST 166 / COMP 166 / ENGL 268

Class Details

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, which will serve as an introduction to religion in contemporary U.S. culture. We will address questions such as: How do American Muslims attempt to fashion 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? How are Muslims approaching the tensions between communal belonging and individuality? What are the competing claims and contestations about authentic expressions of Islam? We will be engaging such themes through an analysis of popular memoirs, autobiographies, novels, short stories, poetry, films, and comedy.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 1745
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: regular reading responses, short midterm essays, and final paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: First-year students and sophomores
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
REL 166 Division II AMST 166 Division II COMP 166 Division I ENGL 268 Division I
DPE Notes: This course will explore the 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 in 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 in the texts, and how to analyze their workings in nuanced multidimensional ways.

Class Grid

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