The essays in Muslim American Hyphenations: Cultural Production and Hybridity in the Twenty-first Century contest the lack of nuance in the public debates about American Islam and reclaim a self-determined identity by twenty-first century Muslim American writers, artists, and performers. Muslim American Hyphenations covers a wide spectrum of cultural representation based upon a shared religion that encompasses multiethnic and polylinguistic communities in the American landscape, challenging both the sacred-secular binary and the confines of multiculturalism. The contributors to this volume explore the codes of belonging in different American spheres, from transnational and local negotiations of immigrant and domestic Muslim Americans with nation, race, class, and gender, to the performance of faith in the creative manifestations of these identities. In their analyses, these scholars propose that Muslim American cultural productions provide an alternative space of dissensus and the utopian potentiality of connections with other minoritarian communities.
Mahwash Shoaib is instructor of American Literature at Central Piedmont Community College.
Introduction: Muslim Imagination in America
Section 1: The Literary Arts
Chapter 1: Cultivating Muslim Social Critique: The Twenty-First Century Novels of Nafisa Haji and Randa Jarrar
Ibtisam M. Abujad
Chapter 2: Cosmopolitanism and Transnational Belonging in Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know and Tahmima Anam’s The Bones of Grace
Chapter 3: “ , .”: Space and Justice in the Poetry of Solmaz Sharif
Chapter 4: Multiple Nations under Allah: Conversion and Literary Nationalism in Michael Muhammad Knight’s Journey to the End of Islam
Section 2: The Visual and Performing Arts
Chapter 5: Muslim Superhero and American Multiculturalism
Esra Mirze Santesso
Chapter 6: Reel Bad Muslims: Negotiating the African American Muslim Identity in TV and Film
Chapter 7: Kuwaisiana: A Country Made Through Music
Chapter 8: “Heart Heat,” Ishq, Eros, and Radical Love in the Collaborative Artwork of Gazelle Samizay, Laimah Osman, and Sahar Muradi
In this thoughtful volume, scholars brilliantly reflect on the multiple voices of Muslim artists from literature and film to TV and music, showing the vitality, depth, and inclusiveness of their works and visions. This ambitious collection fills a critical void and offers a sophisticated look at the incredibly dynamic and multifaced Muslim American imagination. A must read, it is a wonderful, essential contribution.
Muslim American Hyphenations is a fresh expansion of a widening discourse on the study of Muslim identities in the United States. Through a theorizing of the hyphen (as in Muslim-American), this collection of brilliant scholarship offers a critical outlook on race, class, gender and religion in relation to Muslim American artistry. Surely, it is a valuable contribution to growing conversations about Muslim life and ways of knowing in the modern world.
This incredible collection of new work deals with complex questions of religion, race, class, gender, and migration laced with layered issues of nationalism, popular culture, surveillance, war, borders, and Islamophobia in nuanced and creative ways. It is an important contribution to critical Muslim studies and cultural studies by a diverse group of scholars that rethinks existing frameworks of religion/secularity from the mainstreams and margins of Muslim communities in fascinating and innovative ways. I have been waiting for a book such as this!
Muslim American Hyphenations is a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary Muslim American's creative cultural production or learning more about how Muslims in the U.S. navigate life under the white Protestant gaze. The contributors in this volume show how Muslim Americans in a post-9/11 world create alternative representations of Muslims as neither victims nor mystical heroes, rather as regular people navigating a complex world of binaries. This intellectually rigorous and accessible volume puts intersectionality at the forefront, recognizing that Muslims are race, gendered, and classed people. Muslim American Hyphenations shows its readers that representation won't save us, but it might just be the first step to creating new worlds for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The radicality of differentiation, of celebrating the infinitely multivalent truths of Muslim American experience, of immigrant American experience, cannot be overstated. Even saying “Muslim American” or “immigrant American” casts the “Muslim” as grammatically subordinate to the American monolith. Shoaib has assembled something truly generous here, generous and intimate and bone-hard and searching and yes, fearless. It’s radical because it rejects the inertia of received gaze, because it doesn’t flatten us to narratives already proven legible to empire. It’s radical because it sees us alive.
This is an important collection offering serious analyses of American Muslim expressive arts in diverse media under one cover, a welcome and valuable addition to multiple shelves: Muslim studies, gender studies, American studies, Black studies, ethnic studies.
Muslim American Hyphenations offers a valuable and appreciated contribution to the growing literature on US Muslim cultural production in its entanglement with politics, state surveillance, belonging, and artistic expression. Examples of the art of words and the art of images, skillfully analyzed by a cast of diverse scholars, are stitched together into a quilt that renders Muslim American lives in all their complexities and complications, while celebrating art as a mirror of our existence.