Lauren Hayhurst

Department: Creative Writing
Discipline: English

Project Summary

What representations of Muslim women can be found in post-9/11 fiction, and how do they engage with existing stereotypes?

  • How do these representations work?
  • Do they continue or challenge Orientalist legacies?
  • Should there be greater emphasis on ethical practise for fiction-writers?

Negative stereotypes about Islam have amplified since 9/11. Representations by mainstream media, government policies and charitable drives have contributed to this, reinforcing the damaging assumptions that Muslim women are oppressed victims, that they are foreign and inherently different. This sensation of irreconcilable difference has further homogenised and pathologised this large and multifaceted group, and continues to antagonise relations between Muslims, emphasised as the minority ‘other’ in/from the ‘East’, and non-Muslims, emphasised as the majority ‘self’, living in the ‘West’. By investigating the context, sources, drivers and agendas that lead to forming and strengthening such stereotypes, a re-imagining of Muslim women can then be attempted. Presented across fiction and critical thesis, this research challenges stereotypes and encourages readers to connect with those not so ‘different’ from themselves.

Supervisory Team

Dr Sam North, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

Dr Sophie Richter-Devroe, Senior Lecturer in Gender and Middle East Studies