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Shazrah Salam

Doctor of Philosophy, (English Literature)
Study Completed: 2019
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Imposed Silences, Subversive Voices: (Re)Reading Selected Pakistani Anglophone Writing through the Bodies of Pakistani-Muslim Women

The Pakistani-Muslim female body occupies a highly politicised position in post 9/11 discourses concerning the war-on-terror, nationalism, Islamophobia, and Neo-Orientalism. Ms Salam offers a feminist intervention to discussions of contemporary Pakistani Anglophone writing by using the female body as a lens for reading and analysing selected texts. Ms Salam focused on the inscription and framing of Pakistani-Muslim women in Moth Smoke (2000), Broken Verses (2005), and Maps for Lost Lovers (2004). She argues that these novels engage and disrupt neo-Orientalist discourses of Muslim and feminist exceptionalism. They also portray Pakistani-Muslim womanhood in historically and culturally-specific ways (born out of a complex interplay between religion, politics, desire, and sexuality). Despite challenging monolithic assumptions about Pakistani women, the notion of agency attributed to the female subjectivities in these texts seems to be refracted through a neo-liberal lens. Hence, this risks ignoring or silencing the voices, issues, and aspirations of a local population that is non-cosmopolitan, non-transnational and regional.

Dr Kim Worthington
Dr Celina Bortolotto