Special MLA 2014 Session: Muslim Utopia

Seeking abstracts that explore Muslim fiction writers’ overt as well as covert engagement with the notion of ‘utopia’, both theological and material.

Send in 250-word abstract with bio by 15 March 2012.

Send abstracts to: Mosarrap Khan (mhkhan@nyu.edu)

[Detailed Proposal

                                                   Muslim Utopias

While the concept of ‘utopia’ undergirds much of Islamic political and social thinking, deriving its legitimacy partly from religious/theological and partly from material impulses, this seminar intends to explore Muslim fiction writers’ overt as well as covert engagement with the notion of ‘utopia’.  While focusing specifically on South Asian Muslim writers, this seminar seeks to develop a comparative approach in understanding how the notion of ‘utopia’ is deployed in Muslim fictions from different parts of the globe. We will try to explore the concept of ‘utopia’ as an impulse which engenders thinking beyond the cartographies of the theological and the material.

This panel hopes to raise and address some of these questions: How does the idea of ‘utopia’ as a global positioning system underpin Muslim everyday life? What sort of utopian impulses do we find in Muslim everyday life? Following Karl Mannheim’s formulation, what are the ideological and utopian impulses sustaining Muslim everyday life? How do transformative impulses in the material domain of everyday life interact with the theological impulses of creating a global Muslim utopic community? How does the genre of the novel mediate Muslim literary ‘utopia’?  What are the temporal and spatial coordinates that enable thinking of ‘utopia’ in Muslim everyday life?]

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