Public Reading by Samar Habib and Shenaaz Janmohamed

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 | 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

691 Barrows Hall

Townsend Center for Humanities and
Center for Race Gender (CRG) Working Group on

Muslim Identities Cultures

Public Reading by Samar Habib and Shenaaz Janmohamed

Wednesday, April 30, 2014; 6:00 – 7:30 PM

Loc: 691 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley

Dr. Samar Habib is a scholar, writer, editor and translator. She is an associate researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her publications include Female Homosexuality in the Middle East (Routledge, 2007 2009) and Islam and Homosexuality (Praeger, 2010). Rughum and Najda (Oracle, 2012) is her second novel.Habib’s novel, Rughum and Najda, narrates a love story between two women living in ninth-century CE Baghdad. Beyond the favorable reviews, few people know how this novel came to be written, and even fewer know that what may seem like imagined realities, characters and stories, were actually extracted from ninth century sources. Her work revels in the timelessness of what makes us human, while paying attention to the particularities of space and time.

Shenaaz Janmohamed is the curator and co-founder of TRM: Totally Radical Muslims. Totally Radical Muslimsis a resistance project born from the intersections of Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, Hindu-fascism, imperialism, capitalism and heteropatriarchy. It all began in 2009, while participating in conversations and some organizing with the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA), many Muslims felt invisibilized within the Hindu-North-Indian-dominat<wbr />ed space, which at times also surfaced Islamophobic rhetoric.

The idea of the TRM ‘zine came during a generative somatics workshop where Shenaaz Janmohamed was tasked with coming up with an individual and collective commitment around healing. The ‘zine was a way to orchestrate a chorus of Muslim voices – all crying out to be seen and heard more fully, with delicate nuance, fierce laughter and, yes, devotion. Without self-censorship in this post-9/11 political climate, where Muslims are racialized, and their cultural, spiritual, and historical identities are constantly being examined, ridiculed and dissected within the public sphere, these narratives provide spaces of resistance and freedom.

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The objective of this Townsend Center Working Group on Muslim Identities Cultures is to focus on exploring the constructions of Muslim identities and agencies from the standpoints of race, gender, caste, class, sexualities, nationalism, geopolitics and culture, especially concentrating on the discourses of “racialization” of Muslims taking place since 9/11. While examining the intersections and coformations of cultures, religions, gender, sexualities, caste, class, race, and nationalisms, the group will endeavor to continue to create a space where multiple discourses can be analyzed and discussed in a scholarly fashion.

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