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The Reluctant Fundamentalist: The Re-territorialisation of the Encounter between America and its Muslim 'Other(s)'

By Nath Aldalala'a


The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a novel by Mohsin Hamid, explores the encounter between America and its Muslim 'others'. Within the political processes and the intellectual and emotive climate that characterises the 'war on terror', this encounter is readily understood as one of confrontation. From the time of 9/11 to the recent killing of Osama bin Laden by American Special Forces on Pakistani soil, this sense of confrontation is reinforced by the rhetoric of Western governments and media representations. Hamid's novel, however, excavates the imbrications of the personal and political effects of 9/11 coupled with the specificities that place Pakistan at the hub of America's war, while foregrounding the increasing alienation of Muslim people within global discourses. This paper considers the processes of de-territorialisation and re-territorialisation in political and cultural terms through the interaction of literary forms and global realities. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is engaged in a particular form of postcolonial 'writing back' through its depiction of migrant experience that leads to a re-assertion of specific national and cultural boundaries that ultimately re-position the dynamics of the encounter between the West and its Muslim 'other'

Topics: Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Terrorism, Imperialism, America, Pakistan
Year: 2012
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