Muslims in the Western Imagination

Hardcover | February 17, 2015

bySophia Rose Arjana

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Throughout history, Muslim men have been depicted as monsters. The portrayal of humans as monsters helps a society delineate who belongs and who, or what, is excluded. Even when symbolic, as in post-9/11 zombie films, Muslim monsters still function to define Muslims as non-human entities.These are not depictions of Muslim men as malevolent human characters, but rather as creatures that occupy the imagination - non-humans that exhibit their wickedness outwardly on the skin. They populate medieval tales, Renaissance paintings, Shakespearean dramas, Gothic horror novels, and Hollywoodfilms. Through an exhaustive survey of medieval, early modern, and contemporary literature, art, and cinema, Muslims in the Western Imagination examines the dehumanizing ways in which Muslim men have been constructed and represented as monsters, and the impact such representations have onperceptions of Muslims today.The study is the first to present a genealogy of these creatures, from the demons and giants of the Middle Ages to the hunchbacks with filed teeth that are featured in the 2007 film 300, arguing that constructions of Muslim monsters constitute a recurring theme, first formulated in medievalChristian thought. Sophia Rose Arjana shows how Muslim monsters are often related to Jewish monsters, and more broadly to Christian anti-Semitism and anxieties surrounding African and other foreign bodies, which involves both religious bigotry and fears surrounding bodily difference. Arjana arguespersuasively that these dehumanizing constructions are deeply embedded in Western consciousness, existing today as internalized beliefs and practices that contribute to the culture of violence - both rhetorical and physical - against Muslims.

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Throughout history, Muslim men have been depicted as monsters. The portrayal of humans as monsters helps a society delineate who belongs and who, or what, is excluded. Even when symbolic, as in post-9/11 zombie films, Muslim monsters still function to define Muslims as non-human entities.These are not depictions of Muslim men as malevo...

Sophia Rose Arjana holds an M.A. from Columbia University, an M.T.S. from Emory University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver and Illiff School of Theology. Her main areas of research are imaginary Muslim monsters, Muslim representations in popular culture, non-hajj pilgrimage traditions in Islamic societies, liturgy in North ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 0.91 inPublished:February 17, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199324921

ISBN - 13:9780199324927

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Islam in the Western Imagination1. The Muslim Monster2. Medieval Muslim Monsters3. Turkish Monsters4. The Monsters of Orientalism5. Muslim Monsters in the Americas6. The Monsters of September 11thNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"In The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie wrote this about the power of representation: 'They describe us . . . that's all. They have the power of description, and we succumb to the pictures they construct.' In her exhaustive and often disturbing work, Sophia Arjana catalogues the many ways inwhich Muslims have been described as monsters. It is a compelling book." --Amir Hussain, Editor, Journal of the American Academy of Religion