Book Review: Religious Freedom: The Contested History of An American Ideal by Tisa Wenger

By recounting pivotal events of the Unites States imperialistic expansion through the lens of the religious-ideological struggle which informed them, in Religious Freedom: The Contested History of an American Ideal, Tisa Wenger explains how the ideal of religious freedom has been a part of the discourse of the United States’ dominant ethnic group, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, as well as a tool deployed by the ‘many people who wanted to locate themselves as equal partners in the American experiment – and to transform themselves into actors, rather than subjects of the imperial modern’ (34). Continue reading

For a Series so Concerned with Leaning into the Horror, The Handmaid’s Tale Utterly Fails to Address Race

Whenever the TV series or the new sequel to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are mentioned, the same question arises: do we really want to know what happens after Offred (pre-Gilead name June) steps “into the darkness within; or else the light”? This is June’s infamous last line, which finds its way into the first series with meticulous fidelity before the HBO adaptation continues her timeline. Until Atwood released The Testaments in 2019, critics have been asking whether the HBO adaptation ought to have done this – yet the original novel did play with such boundaries, giving readers glimpses of past lives and future conclusions about those lives in the academic conference provided in the “Historical Notes.” What makes Handmaid so appropriate for this golden age of television is that the political premise finds its place just as comfortably in the Trump era as it did under Reagan. Continue reading

Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and States in Modern America

Ronit Y. Stahl’s new book, Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America, brings an important new perspective to the study of religious progress and acceptance in the United States. Focusing on the American military chaplaincy and its role in legitimating different faith groups domestically and internationally, Stahl highlights the influence of the military complex in shaping society and social norms. Continue reading

“Cracking Eggs” in Diana Abu-Jaber’s ‘Life Without a Recipe’ (2016)

I am Fatima: Negotiating Identities in Contemporary American-Muslim Women’s Writing Series

This is the third and last post in the series ‘I am Fatima: Negotiating Identities in Contemporary American-Muslim Women’s Writing’ guest-written by Hasnul Djohar. This short series explores American-Muslim women’s writing in the 21st Century, focusing on the negotiation of identities within the works of a specific author in each… Continue reading

Folktales in Randa Jarrar’s ‘A Map of Home’ (2008)

I am Fatima: Negotiating Identities in Contemporary American-Muslim Women’s Writing Series

Randa Jarrar’s ‘A Map of Home’ (2008) narrates the coming-of-age story of a Muslim woman of Egyptian and Palestinian descent […] [and] can be compared to Kingston’s ‘The Woman Warrior’ (2000) which uses Chinese folktales; and Jarrar also alludes to Palestinian folktales. The protagonist, Nidali, describes this folktale through the way her grandma, Sitto, tells her the story, which is about “two sisters, one poor and one rich” […] “The poor one goes to the rich one’s house and the rich one’s stuffing cabbage leaves” (101). The poor one is creative and willing to help others until she becomes rich because her own fart is happy after she lets it go from her stomach and it presents her with gold, while her sister at the end is dying because her own fart gives her scorpions after forcing it to go out from her comfortable stomach. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS PG Conference 2017 – Contesting Power: Rights, Justice, and Dissent in America and Beyond

University of Cambridge

Given the overarching theme of the conference, it is unsurprising that activism and dissent in the United States were recurring themes, and papers considered, for example, feminist responses to the AIDS crisis, and radical politics within VISTA during the Nixon years. Continue reading

I am Fatima: Negotiating Identities in Contemporary American-Muslim Women’s Writing

Introducing the Series

By exploring the heroic stories of American-Muslim women, who also represent other marginal groups, we gain a better understanding of how these groups have not only suffered from white mythologies from the periods of European colonialisms and American imperialism, but also have struggled to seek social justice and equality. And with the better understanding of these women’s struggles, this short series aims to contribute to discussions concerning American-Muslim literature, which explores both melancholic and convivial stories of marginal groups in order to reveal what it means to be American citizens of Muslim descent. Continue reading

Review: Marilynne Robinson Symposium

While, as Ames states in Gilead, “Memory can make a thing seem more than it was”, this is certainly not the case for this thought-provoking and timely symposium. In providing a forum for discussion of new perspectives and research on Robinson’s work, the event was a resounding success. Continue reading

Prince, Seventh-Day Adventism and the Apocalyptic Threat of the 1980s

In the light of his recent death, it is important to note how Prince’s music contributed to public discourse about religious norms and eschatological hopes. Prince’s most successful period as a recording artist came during the 1980s, and his lyrics throughout this decade reflect a contemporary escalation in discussions of the apocalyptic. Continue reading

Book Review: American Apocalypse: A History of American Evangelicalism by Matthew Avery Sutton

The aim of Matthew Avery Sutton’s ambitious new monograph, American Apocalypse, is to trace the development of modern evangelicalism in the United States from its late nineteenth century origins to the present day. Central to this story is the question of how the powerful conservative wing of the movement eventually became, during the height of its influence at the end of the twentieth century, a mainstream, unified force which was able to effect the outcome of elections. Continue reading