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John C. Waldmeir

Kahf’s poetry and prose provide not only a feminist perspective on the faith but, more specifically, they ground that perspective on an Islamic notion of the body as “sign” of God’s compassion and mercy.

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John C. Waldmeir

Introduces the two theoretical concepts that will guide this study, the notion of a Muslim American identity lived “in between” physical locations such as the United States and a country of origin, as well as between spiritual attitudes and religious assumptions, such as rigid orthodoxies and progressive interpretations. The introduction argues that the history of the Qur’an itself bears the marks of such in-between development, particularly in its notion of the world as a “sign” of God’s creativity.

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John C. Waldmeir

Willow Wilson’s best-selling autobiography, The Butterfly Mosque (2010), introduced her as someone who’s religious and cultural identities found a home somewhere in-between more traditional options. In the spirit of her personal insights, Wilson has created numerous characters that exhibit similar in-between traits. The religious significance of these subsequent identities is deepened by the journeys she narrates for her characters, voyages that carry them between everyday realities and the mysteries realms of spirits and jinn.

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John C. Waldmeir

Taking seriously his Muslim faith in God’s creation of (and ongoing work among) human life, playwright Ayad Akhtar challenges his audiences to recognize human identity as a source of hope in a world otherwise permeated with acts of violence.

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John C. Waldmeir

As a Muslim poet who writes about homosexual identity and the faith, Ali (like Kahf) also addresses the topic of the body as a site of God’s ongoing creativity. But he expands the possibility for recognizing the divine in the signs of God’s creation by pointing to the multi-layered realities of our individual identity and the tremendous diversity in those worlds that exist outside of us.

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Genealogy of Obedience

Reading North American Dog Training Literature, 1850s-2000s

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Justyna Wlodarczyk

In Genealogy of Obedience Justyna Włodarczyk provides a long overdue look at the history of companion dog training methods in North America since the mid-nineteenth century, when the market of popular training handbooks emerged. Włodarczyk argues that changes in the functions and goals of dog training are entangled in bigger cultural discourses; with a particular focus on how animal training has served as a field for playing out anxieties related to race, class and gender in North America. By applying a Foucauldian genealogical perspective, the book shows how changes in training methods correlate with shifts in dominant regimes of power. It traces the rise and fall of obedience as a category for conceptualizing relationships with dogs.
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Photographic Ekphrasis in Cuban-American Fiction

Missing Pictures and Imagining Loss and Nostalgia

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Louisa Söllner

Photographic Ekphrasis in Cuban-American Fiction offers new readings of Cuban-American novels and autobiographies, demonstrating that a focus on photographs (alluded to, analyzed, and/or obsessively recurrent in the narrative discourse) provides fresh insights into these texts. The study introduces the concept of photographic ekphrasis as a reading tool for diasporic literature and argues that visual images are important components of narratives about dislocation, nostalgia, and transcultural experience. Authors treated in depth include Carlos Eire, Cristina García, Oscar Hijuelos, Roberto G. Fernández, Ana Menéndez, Achy Obejas, and Gustavo Pérez Firmat. Missing Pictures offers an original perspective on Cuban-American literature and contributes to the scholarship on ekphrasis and on the interactions between photography and narrative.