Our Wellington and Manawatū campuses are open, Auckland remains closed at AL3. More information.

Somayyeh Ghaffari

School of English & Media Studies
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Reconsidering narratives of Muslim immigrant radicalisation: The representation of intergenerational experience in contemporary Muslim immigrant fiction

Research Description
Living in a western country in which Islamophobia is rife is very difficult for young Muslims since not only are they under attack by the dominant culture, but they are also often perceived as a threat to its well-being: if not radicalised and fundamentalist, they are thought to have the potential to become so. In recent years several Muslim immigrant writers have begun to portray the process(es) of radicalisation undergone by their second-generation immigrant protagonists, post 9/11. They write in English and are published by mainstream western presses and include: Laleh Khadivi’s A Good Country (2017), Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire (2017), Fatima Bhutto’s The Runaways (2018) and Hassan Ghedi Santur’s The Youth of God (2019). I seek to explore the portrayal of radicalised Muslim immigrant characters, by Muslim immigrant writers, with a particular focus on the ways in which they are situated within their familial environments. These novels portray the cumulative, if often mundane effects of discrimination, misunderstanding, and the long-lasting effects of an almost impossible attempt to “fit in”. I want to explore and to study “radicalised youth” in their familial environments and to explore them as “human beings” rather than “terrorists”.

Personal Description
Somayyeh is a PhD English Literature candidate in the School of English and Media Studies at Massey University. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from Tabriz Azad University, Iran. Prior to moving to New Zealand she taught English at universities and private institutes in Urmia, Iran.

Dr Kim Worthington
Dr Celina Bortolotto


"Muslim Author Response to 9/11 Fiction" By: Kim Worthington and Somayyeh Ghaffari 


Initial Literary Responses to 9/11: Less About Politics than Religion

By: Somayyeh Ghaffari and Kim Worthington