About the Network

“When was the last time you heard a Muslim woman speak for herself without a filter? Or outside the white gaze? On her own terms? Or outside the narrative built around us by the media and governments?” (Mariam Khan, ‘Introduction’, It’s Not About the Burqa, p. 1).

Focusing on writing by women deemed ‘popular’ rather than ‘literary’, this network engages with under-studied popular and genre texts (including romance, chick lit, comics, graphic novels, detective fiction, Young Adult, fantasy, autobiography, memoir, and science fiction) from a range of established critical disciplinary perspectives and across languages.

The project is interested in looking more closely at this writing alongside its production context through a focus on publishers and editors.

The project asks:

  • How does genre act as a ‘filter’ for Muslim women’s writing?
  • What opportunities do popular and genre fiction provide for challenging the dominant ‘filters’ on Muslim women’s voices?
  • What contexts and pressures do popular fiction publishing and production models provide?
  • How are Muslim women authors engaging with and transforming established narrative and genre forms?

These areas of expertise have not been brought together substantially before – this is an opportunity to gather disparate expertise and bring together a global network of scholars to discuss and produce focused work on this topic. By bringing together experts on popular fiction, publishing and genre, with established researchers of Muslim women’s writing, this networking project aims to produce new and much-needed collaborative interventions and establish a critical platform for future research.