Contemporary Muslim Women’s Voices
In Emails from Scheherazad, Mohja Kahf writes back to post-9/11 neo-Orientalist epistemologies, informing Western discourses on Muslim, especially veiled, women: “Yes, I speak English/Yes, I carry explosives/They’re called words/And if you don’t get up/Off your assumptions/They’re going to blow you away” (35). Similarly, other writers, such as Leila Aboulela, Ahdaf Soueif, Hanan al-Shaykh and Tahmina Anam, work towards decolonizing Muslim women’s bodies, whilst stressing piety as a lived experience. Still others, among them Randa Abdel-Fattah, Shelina Janmohamed, G. Willow Wilson and Umm Juwayriyah, are turning to and ‘Islamizing’ youth culture genres like young adult fiction, romance, fantasy and urban fiction. Currently, the internet project Muslima. Muslim Women’s Art & Voices displays web-art, photography and other works by Muslim women artists from translocal contexts. Platforms like altmuslimah.com, hijabi lifestyle vlogs and a particularly diverse blogosphere testify to Muslim women’s vital and creative involvement in digital cultures. Arguably, contemporary Muslim female writers, artists and cultural producers, from Islamicate to diasporic contexts, agitate against a reductive identitarian logic of ‘the’ Muslim woman sustained by Western representational regimes, Islamist fundamentalisms as well as some secular feminist positions. In the light of a sheer multiplicity of emergent voices, we would like to invite essays focussing on contemporary cultural production by (and on) Muslim women. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Muslim/Islamic feminisms in cultural texts; from theoretical approaches á la Fatima Mernissi, Leila Ahmed, Asma Barlas, Nawal El Saadawi etc. to popular cultural formations á la Ms Marvel and Qahera
- Life writing, autobiographical texts and (scholar-)activism, e.g. Muslim confessional literatures/media and edited collections on faith-centred feminisms, anti-racism, anti-capitalism and sexualities
- Playwrights like Sudha Bhuchar, Emteaz Hussain, Nadia Manzoor, Ambreen Razia, Alia Bano and feminist theatre and performance from Muslim-majority to diasporic contexts
- Filmic contestations, e.g. Yasmin, The Source, Three Veils, Wadjda and works by Muslim women filmmakers like Sally El Hosaini, Tahmineh Milani, Shirin Neshat etc.
- Diversifications of genre; Muslim romance, chick-lit, YA, speculative fiction etc.
- Performances of selves in digital cultures, e.g. Muslima YouTubers, Insta-Stars, politico-ethical bloggers (Dina Torkia, Sabina England, Hoda Katebi etc.)
- 9/11, Self-presentation and the politics of neoliberalism/postfeminism; the Muslim woman as a marketing tool?
Abstracts of no more than 300 words and a brief biography should be submitted by June 15, 2017. The deadline for the completed papers of 5000-8000 words (MLA style, numbered paragraphs) is August 15, 2017.
(Publication date: Autumn 2017)