Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

ISP Lecture. The Eager Fundamentalist: Muslim Mimicry in the Caribbean

Aliyah Khan, assistant professor of English, U-M
Friday, November 3, 2017
4:00-5:30 PM
555 Weiser Hall Map
This talk explores the application of the figure of the postcolonial “mimic man,” as conceived by V.S. Naipaul, Derek Walcott, Homi Bhabha, and others, to the Muslim Caribbean. The particular Muslim iteration of the Caribbean “mimic man” who continually imitates and fails to produce the culture of the colonizer is the fullaman, who is usually depicted in Caribbean literature as a “cultural” Muslim who as a result of geographic displacement to the New World and enslavement (of African Muslims) or indentureship (of South Asian Indian Muslims) knows very little about doctrinal Islam. Through a reading of Jan Lowe Shinebourne’s novel "Chinese Women" (2010), which explores the religious radicalization of a Guyanese Muslim man as a result of colonial plantation racism, the speaker argues that contemporary Caribbean Muslims attempt to resist cultural mimicry and hybridity with Islamic particularity, and that in some cases Muslims' metropolitan cultural referent has shifted from the British colonizer to the idealized Arab Salafist, thereby bringing the Caribbean into regional Americas discourses on terrorism and the global Muslim Other.

Aliyah R. Khan is assistant professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS) and the Department of English Language and Literature. Her interdisciplinary research and writing focus on indigeneity, sexuality, and Islam in the postcolonial Caribbean and its diasporas. Professor Khan's current book project is a study of Islam in the Caribbean imaginary that comparatively considers Indo- and Afro-Muslim literary figuration and creolization discourses in Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Suriname. Her dissertation, "Calling the Magician: The Metamorphic Indo-Caribbean," was awarded the 2011-2012 UC President's Dissertation Fellowship. Professor Khan's teaching interests include Caribbean and Muslim postcolonial literatures, critical theory, the posthumanities and animal theory, gender and sexuality, graphic novels, and creative writing (fiction). She has also taught courses on Black Britain in the U-M Center for Global and Intercultural Study's program in London, United Kingdom; co-organized the recent "Black Feminist Think Tank" and "How Sweet It Is: Conjuring the Caribbean" University of Michigan conferences; and been featured on Chicago's Radio Islam as a commentator on contemporary Muslim and Islamic literatures.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Africa, India, International, Latin America, Muslim
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Global Islamic Studies Center, International Institute, Center for South Asian Studies, Department of American Culture, Arab and Muslim American Studies (AMAS)

The Global Islamic Studies Center organizes a number of public events each year such as lectures, conferences, and films, many in collaboration with other U-M units. Please use our searchable events calendar for information about upcoming programs sponsored by GISC and the Interdisciplinary Islamic Studies Seminar (IISS).