English at Leicester

Queer Diasporas: Islam, Homosexuality and a Micropolitics of Dissent

  • Project leader: Dr Alberto Fernández Carbajal (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, School of English, University of Leicester)
  • Duration: 1 September 2014 – 31 August 2017 (3 years)
  • Funding: Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships; University of Leicester

Aims of the project

Ever since 9/11 and the subsequent bombings in Madrid, London and Boston, Muslims have been under constant scrutiny, never leaving the eye of the Western media. By examining literary and cinematic representations of 'queer' Muslims from international contexts, including Africa and Asia and the Middle East, and their diasporas in Europe and North America, with a focus on the 1980s and 1990s to the present day, the study’s main aim is to start challenging acerbic views on Muslim citizens by foregrounding their politically significant sexual dissidence.

These representations include fiction and film in English, French, and in translation to English from French and Arabic by authors and film-makers such as Hanif Kureishi, Ian Iqbal Rashid, Hoda Barakat, Rabih Alameddine, Khaled Hosseini, Alaa Al Aswany, Sally El Hosaini, Tahar Ben Jelloun and Abdellah Taïa.

The study will pose two main questions:

  • How do these various international texts and films represent Muslims and adhere to, or challenge, anti-Islamic views?
  • In what ways do international perspectives on homosexuality from different Islamic contexts help tackle both Islamophobia in the West while challenging intolerance towards homosexuality?

My project will investigate the extent to which some representation of Muslim homosexuality can be aligned with the anti-Islamic views of some sectors of the Western media, while others help us undertake a cultural bridge between Islam and the West with their fight against interfaith prejudice.

Useful links

  • Imaan.org - supporting LGBT Muslim people, their families and friends, to address issues of sexual orientation within Islam.

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