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PhD Confirmation Seminar

27 Jan 2020 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
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AT2.51, SGP3.64, 7C34

Somayyeh Ghaffari will be giving her PhD confirmation presentation at 11:00am on Monday 27th January via video-conference in SGP3.64 (Manawatū), 7C34 (Wellington) and Auckland staff can join via Zoom (, Meeting ID 305 297 478).

The presentation is entitled Reconsidering Narratives of Muslim Immigrant Radicalisation: Intergenerational Experience in Recent Muslim Immigrant Fiction.


Muslims, living in the West, have experienced increased discrimination in the post-9/11 era, and many are subjected to racial profiling and negative representations of their religion in the media – and in literature. Living in a western country in which Islamophobia is rife is often difficult for young Muslims since not only are they under attack by the dominant culture, but they are also often perceived as a threat to its well-being: if not radicalised and fundamentalist, they are thought to have the potential to become so. Although only a small number of Muslim immigrants in the West have been radicalised, a disproportionate number of Muslim characters in post-9/11 fiction are; they either commit terror attacks within their adopted country or leave to join jihadist groups elsewhere. In recent years several Muslim immigrant writers have begun to portray the radicalisation of second-generation immigrant protagonists. These include: Laleh Khadivi’s A Good Country (2017), Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire (2017), Fatima Bhutto’s The Runaways (2018) and Hassan Ghedi Santur’s The Youth of God (2019). It is on such novels that my research is focused. I seek to explore the portrayal of radicalised Muslim immigrant characters, by Muslim immigrant writers, with a focus on the ways in which they are situated within their familial environments – as fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. These novels portray the cumulative, if often mundane effects of discrimination, misunderstanding, and the long-lasting effects of an almost impossible attempt to “fit in.” They portray complicated, individual human beings and families torn between cultural and religious loyalties in ways that complicate and undermine fear-confirming narratives of Muslim fanatical terrorism I argue that they offer a counterpoint to the more popularist, even sensationalist, depictions of the “jihad-invited-in” often found in fiction penned by western authors.


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