From The Sun Also Rises to En attendant le vote des bêtes sauvages and Baby No-Eyes
Cosmopolitanism, Religion, and Diasporic Sisters of Scheherazade
Susan Stanford Friedman
The essay explores the overlapping discourses in the fields of the “new” world literature and the “new” migration studies, with a focus on their related discourses of circulation and cosmopolitanism. It examines the transnational circulation of writers in addition to texts in twenty-first century world literature with specific discussions of the cosmopolitan treatment of religion in the work of selected diasporic Muslim women writers, featuring Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul and Mohja Kahf’s E-Mails from Scheherazad and The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. The essay considers the importance for diasporic Muslim women writers of Scheherazade as a learned woman and clever storyteller who saves the realm through words, not violence. Confronting Islamophobia and Orientalist fantasies of Muslim women, these authors locate traditions of cosmopolitanism and religious tolerance within their own heritage, not as an exclusive property of the West.