This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.
Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.
Behind Gilded Walls: Tales of wonder, the Gothic, and Islamic Mythology in Contemporary Literature
Our final Late Summer Lecture crosses cultures to explore the how Islamic mythology is used by contemporary Muslim authors to appeal to Muslim and non-Muslim readers alike. Free and open to the public.
The discussion of the importance of diversity in literature has been on-going for decades. In light of recent political discussions regarding race and religion, in particular, there is, now more than ever, an urgent need for diversity in representation not only in literature but in all cultural mediums. Influenced by what has now come to be known as the ‘#OwnVoices’ movement which encourages authors to craft stories that reflect the ever-changing reality of many of us today, and following the rising focus on Muslim communities and Muslim culture, a number of Muslim authors took up the challenge to represent characters and stories that resonate with Muslim readers, as well as non-Muslim readers who are willing to read beyond deeply-rooted stereotypes.
In this paper, I consider the work of contemporary Muslim authors such as S. A. Chakraborty, Ausma Zehanat Khan, and Zeynab Joukhadar whose vivid imagery and writing open a gate to Islamic mythology and Middle Eastern folklore and invites for an exciting exploration into the sinister and mystical world of the Jinn, complex politics, and supernatural cities. I begin by outlining a brief history of Islamic literature, focusing particularly and specifically on tales of the supernatural that exhibit elements and concepts of the Gothic, notably concepts of Otherness and the uncanny. I then explore how contemporary Muslim authors draw on a rich Islamic literary tradition to create tales reminiscent of Scheherazade’s tales of wonder in The One Thousand and One Night.
Meriem Rayen Lamara
Meriem Rayen Lamara is a final year international PhD candidate at The University of Northampton. She is currently writing her thesis on the supernatural Gothic in contemporary Young Adult literature. Her adjacent research interests lie in children’s literature, dark fantasy, supernatural folklore and fairy tales.
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Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies
We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.
Many of our public lectures, seminars and conferences are recorded, and can be listened to as podcasts.
- 20th January 2021
- Sensory Experiments in Nineteenth-Century Literature
- Online (Zoom)
- Dr Erica Fretwell (University of Albany) and Dr Shannon Draucker (Siena College)