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Imagining Muslims: Representation of Muslims in Britain - ENG00073M

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Claire Chambers
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2021-22

Module aims

This course encourages a new approach to British migrant writing, which is particularly relevant in the current political climate of religious manichaeism and intolerance. Questions of faith and religious identity have tended to be subsumed in discussions of diasporic writing under such categories as ethnicity, nationality, hybridity and race . Yet some recent critics suggest that the relative neglect that postcolonial theory has shown to religion may be due in part to its unwitting valorization of a secular, Euro-American stance (Amin, 2005: 17). This course invites students to redress the critical imbalance. Using insights drawn from recent anthropological and theological research we will consider the important and dynamic role of religion, specifically Islam, in contributing towards cultural identity.

By taking an interdisciplinary approach, the module allows students to consider the historical contexts in which Muslims from many different backgrounds first came to Britain and the texts that have increasingly been produced within, by, and about these communities, while exploring, questioning, and extending the varied ways in which social scientists and creative writers have represented these groups. Students engage with an exciting and challenging range of texts, including novels, films, and poetry in English, written by both practising and non-practising Muslims, and produced by artists from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds within the Indian subcontinent, the Arab world, and Britain itself.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content:

Students should know and be able to analyze in depth complex texts and, where appropriate, the controversies surrounding them, including Salman Rushdie s The Satanic Verses (1989), Hanif Kureishi s The Black Album (1995), and Chris Morris (dir.) Four Lions (2010). They should be particularly aware of the texts' depictions of religious and secular Muslims, their concern with multiculturalism, faith practices, and hybrid identities, their formal and narrative techniques, and unequal access to cultural and economic capital that often marked the disputes around creative texts.

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

-- demonstrate awareness of the variegated history of Muslim migration to the UK and critical appreciation of an often-overlooked canon of fiction by British Muslims

-- enter into debates about British Muslim writing in relation to debates about veiling, freedom of speech , the 1989 fatwa, secularism, hybridity, etc.

-- evince skills in assessing the extent of the applicability of postcolonial theoretical models to the analysis of literary texts by British Muslims


Task Length % of module mark
4500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your MA convenor, module tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours.

Indicative reading

I tesamuddin, Mirza Sheikh (2001) The Wonders of Vilayet: Being the Memoir, Originally in Persian, of a Visit to France and Britain. Leeds: Peepal Tree, 1765

Rushdie, Salman (1988) The Satanic Verses. London: Viking.

Kureishi, Hanif (1995) The Black Album. London: Faber.

Aslam, Nadeem (2004) Maps for Lost Lovers. London: Faber.

Aboulela, Leila (2005) Minaret. London: Bloomsbury.

Yassin-Kassab, Robin (2008) The Road from Damascus. London: Penguin.

Siddique, John (2009) Recital: An Almanac. Cambridge: Salt.

Dharker, Imtiaz (2009) Leaving Fingerprints. Tarset: Bloodaxe.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.