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1 NATIONAL ACTIVISM IN TRANSNATIONAL TIMES: A STUDY OF POST 9/11 SOUTH ASIAN AND SOUTH ASIAN AMERICAN WORKS By DHANASHREE THORAT A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Dhanashree Thorat
3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I am grateful to my committee chair, Dr. Malini Schueller, for her help and support in completing this pro ject She has encouraged me to strive for excellence in the scholarship I produce. I would also like to thank my other committee members, Dr. Anita Anantharam, and Dr. Amy Ongiri, for their advice and feedback as I worked on this project.
4 TABLE OF CONTENT S ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 3 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 5 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 7 Othering of Muslims in Post 9/11 America ................................ ................................ 7 Critique and Defense of Nationalism ................................ ................................ ...... 15 Re Imagining the Nation State ................................ ................................ ................ 22 2 THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST THE DOMESTIC CRUSADERS ........ 37 Economic Fundamentalism and Popular Nationalism in The Reluctan t Fundamentalist ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 38 Familiar Conflict and the Nation State in The Domestic Crusaders ........................ 52 3 THE ACTIVIST AND THE TERRO RIST: REIMAGINING THE NATION STATE IN MY NAME IS KHAN AND NEW YORK ................................ .............................. 64 The Origin of the Terrorist Citizen after 9/11 ................................ ........................... 70 Claiming the Nation ................................ ................................ ................................ 75 WORKS CITED ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 90 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 95
5 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Grad uate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts NATIONAL ACTIVISM IN TRANSNATIONAL TIMES: A STUDY OF POST 9/11 SOUTH ASIAN AND SOUTH ASIAN AMERICAN WORKS By Dhanashree T horat August 2013 Chair: Malini Johar Schueller Major: English The revitalized Orientalist discourse in a post 9/11 America has cast Muslims as threats to the American society and nation state, spawned a domestic legacy of Muslim Othering, and buttresse d a jingoistic nationalism. This project examines the American as Muslims, as well as the response articulated to this Othering by South Asian Muslims in the context of the following four works : My Name is K han (Bollywood film), New York (Bollywood film), The Domestic Crusaders (a play by Wajahat Ali), and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (a novel by Mohsin Hamid) I argue that these works not only challenge the hegemonic representational schema which has define d Muslims in the U.S., but more importantly, all four works present the nation state as a viable site of citizenship, belonging, and resistance for minority sub jects. The nation state is posited as a protective site which can support minority rights d e privileged in the processes of globalization. Thus, subjects turn to a minority and popular nationalism to reinscribe their claims to the nation state. This nationalistic move is accompanied by practices which hybridize the nation, and subjects
6 attempt t his hybridizing through acts of civic, legal, and educational activism and radicalism to transform public space, institutional memory, and national culture.
7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Othering of Muslims in Post 9/11 America The attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2011 revitalized an Orientalist discourse in the United States, which enabled the Othering of Muslims living in the United States as threats to the society and security of the nation state. This Othering was supported by and visible in state policies in the years after 9/11 a nd sustained an atmosphere of suspicion about Muslims, American citizens or otherwise, and broadly speaking, of Islam. The dramatic rise in anti Muslim hate crime, a spike of almost 1,600%, reported by the FBI in the three weeks after the attacks was an ea rly indicator that popular anger about the attacks was being displaced to the racialized bodies of Muslims as well as Arabs South Asians and others who were racially and religiously misrecognized (Confronting Discrimination in the Post 9/11 Era 4). This p opular anger was construed as a form of patriotism to the American nation, and a demonstration of fealty to the nation by way of targeting a block of citizens residents or visitors now considered un American or even anti American The production of Musli ms as cultural Others occurred alongside the racialization of Muslims, and these projects produced subjects who could be framed by state policy and popular imagination but were simultaneously placed outside the realm of citizenship and rights. State polic ies set the tenor for this cultural and racial Othering of Muslims after 9/11. Immediately after 9/11, the Federal Bureau of Investigation detained more than 1200 suspects, many deemed so because of their racial features. The Department of Justice stopped reporting the number of detainees after it topped 1200. The first troubling hints of human rights violation came with this round of detentions. Many
8 detainees were held without charges for months, denied counsel (in contravention of international and Ame ri can laws), and eventually many rather than on terrorism related charges (Immigration Policy Targets of Suspicion 3). To counteract future terrorist attacks on American soil, the government soon implemented measures ranging from a new immigration policy to expanded judicial powers. 1 these new powers and policies, particularly via the 2 USA PATRIOT Act, and NSEERS to track, interview, detain, and depor t Muslim aliens in the United States suspected of terrorism. The various policy actions instituted under the PATRIOT Act constitute the nationalism which led to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These domestic measures affected a disproportionate number of Muslim aliens living in the U.S. but did not remove American citizens from their purview. The wide ranging scope of these policies, thus, not only affected immigrants, but also citizens and communities. For instance, the open ended language of the NSEERS left even immigration lawyers baffled about who needed to compl y with the special registration and interviews mandated for individuals from countries with large Muslim popu lations. South Asian origin, including citizens, permanent residents, applicants for permanent residency, individuals legally present in the country on student or work visas, and 1 A Penn State Symposium observes, for instance, that the special interest deten human rights concerns ranging from prolonged arbitrary detention to interference with the right to counsel 11 Effect Immigration 8). 2 The term stands for Uniting and Strengthening Amer ica by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism
9 detained under these policies were not charged with terrorism, but some were eventually deported for visa or immigration violations. Without going into specifics, I do want to note that some of these abuses of state power, and the discriminatory nature of these measures has been recognized not only by human rights organizations and researchers, but also by the government and 3 legal system. Furthermore, this public produ ction of racialized subjects and stereotypes has a direct import on private violence (like hate crime) against Muslims (Volpp 1582). Volpp argues that through the the The impact of such measures and their consequences was dramatically felt in Mu slim communities. Community members were targeted by state actions, and alienated by local institutions such as school systems, residential councils, and city councils. These institutions are typically charged with producing normative cultural behaviors an d given the construction of Muslims as cultural Others, their policing of Muslim bodies is not unexpected. Land use has been a polarizing point in this 9/11 Era: Challeng investigations under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) 1% of the American populatio use 3 The indefinite arbitrary detention policies violated international as well as American law. (9 11 Effect Immigration 9)
10 These investigations concerned, among other issues whether zoning requests for mosques had been rejected due Muslim bias. The flashpoint in these land use debates was the proposed construction of Park 51, a Muslim Community Center, close to the World Trade Center site. In 2010, the center drew national attention and was labeled anti American b y its detractors (Haberman). The furore against the center, and in general, the construction of mosques, stemmed partially from the misguided association of mosques as breeding grounds for Islamic fundamentalism, and points to the 4 larger social typing of Muslims as terrorists. This short review of the post 9/11 policies and their impacts emphasizes that while 9/11 was a trauma for the American people, its effect was doubly experienced by Muslims living in America who also found themselves targeted and alie nated as Others. Maira attributes such racialized exclusions to an imperial logic which defines who can live within and belongs to the American empire ( Maira 6). This imperial logic attempts to manage and control ut also those who live within its geographical borders and work within its capitalist structures) through domestic and foreign measures, Orientalist tropes, and racialized Othering. Given these various considerations, my project takes as a point of departu re that the nation dependent on furthering its (imperial) ends. Such a critique of the nation state state, and 5 by extension, 4 A 2011 Pew study on Muslim Americans found that the general public holds a disproportionately higher 5 political community Anderson calls a cultural artifact sses of imagining which call the nation into being (4).
11 nationalism lends itself to the persistent postcolonial studies critique of t he nation state as well as calls for its demise. My project intervenes at this point to examine, on the one fiction and popular culture (specifically, film), and the respo nse articulated within these works to the Othering. The four works in this study, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (a novel by Mohsin Hamid), The Domestic Crusaders (a play by Wajahat Ali), My Name is Khan (a Bollywood film), and New York (a Bollywood film), s peak to the Othering and alienation of South Asian youth, some Muslims and others interpellated as Muslims by the state, who are coming of age in the post 9/11 milieu in America. The South Asian protagonists in these four works embrace various forms of dis sent and activism to destabilize the imperial bureaucracy and ideology of the American empire. These forms include grassroots activism and violent radicalism and seek to make Muslim voices and concerns heard on a national stage, in essence challenging the hegemonic order which has defined a representational schema for Muslims in the United States and abroad. These four works, however, do more than challenge a representational schema, which by itself is a limiting goal. While the means of hybridizing the nat ion might differ, all four works present the nation state as a viable site of resistance, and subjects turn to nationalism to reinscribe their citizenship and belonging to a nation and recreate the nation from within its borders. This claiming of the natio n state forms the crux around which my project is organized. Such a claiming combats the splintering of the subject from the discourse of As Pheng Cheah observes, the concepts of nation and state should be considered separately, rather than automatically collapsed. The concepts become bounded when the nation and nationalism is annexed b y the territorial state (Inhuman Conditions 20 21).
12 citizenship and belonging as a result of racialized Othering. Leti Volpp writes that Othered subjects (Muslims, Middle Easterners, Arabs, or South Asians) are subjects outside the networks of kinship, solidarity, and belonging which constitute an imagined nation. Second, this cultural stripping of citizenship has ramifications on how the subject can enact political and legal citizenship (1594). In conclusion, Volpp notes n of the United States are now being thrust outside of the protective ambit of citizenship paths to national belonging by cultivating social consciousness given form by acts of activism and radicalism. These acts engage with hegemonic logic to dismantle it. These acts unfold when subjects have recognized their tenuous position in the imperial hierarchy, and this recognition occurs due to their Othering. Although Fanon develops this point in the context of anti colonial resistance, his call for social and political consciousness to occur alongside or immediately after national consciousness is still releva nt to this post 9/11 era ( Fanon 203). In essence, 6 by engaging socially and politically within the nation, minority subjects declare their refusal to accept the terms of their Othering, and instead transform public and institutional space and memory. By 6 I am not suggesting though, that South Asian Muslims, American citizens or otherwise, were not nationally and socially conscious before the attacks on the World Trade Center. On the one hand, such a ch aracterization would be ill informed, and on the other, it would uphold post 9/11 social movements as reactionary. Moreover, such a misguided characterization would be in a compact with hegemonic sentiment which sees Muslims as not being sufficiently socia lly engaged, and of suspect national loyalty. The social acts which subjects in these works engage in are not shows of patriotism or national allegiance.
13 en acting social acts of activism or radicalism, minority subjects express solidarity with Othered subjects and articulate a vision for reform. These four works are also invested in a particular constituency: youth, and young adults. Sunaina Maira echoes Vol Muslim youth, both citizens as well as non citizens, face particular challenges as they affiliations are politically charged i understood to be a tenuous compromise which affords certain economic opportunities but does not guarantee civil right that the Othered youth is aware of the cultural politics shaping its exclusion but may not always be in a position to rebut it beca use of a vulnerable legal or social position in the empire. I do n ot intend to valorize resistance in my project so I want to not e that subaltern subjects find different ways of navigating the fraught political landscape that In a related work intended to humanize Muslim youth, Bayou mi suggests that Arab and Muslim American youth negotiated through hegemonic institutions and cultural landscapes in small, but key rejections of their Othered status. For Yasmin, a young high school girl, this rejection took the form of a legal challenge to religious discrimination in her school, while for other youth, like Lina and Rami, the experience of Othering led to a religious transformation and a desire to find solidarity with other Muslims and through religion (100, 148, 225). The key factor which unites these youth is their attempt to carve out an identity different from the one bestowed on them by the imperial ideology
14 vast organized social movements that contest the Othering of Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians. A grassroots minority nationalism directs the South Asian subjects in The Domestic Crusaders My Name is Khan and New York to engage in civic, legal, and educational activism or in radicalism to reshape the na tional conversation about Muslims in America. In The Reluctant Fundamentalist the Pakistani protagonist, rejects his transnational privileges and returns to Pakistan to counteract the transnational capitalist structure which undergirds the American empire by engaging in a strategic nationalism. This kind of nationalism posits the nation state as a protective site which can support and promote subaltern rights that might be de privileged in the processes of globalization. It is important to note that alth ough the approaches in these works are about nation ness, these approaches are not incompatible with cosmopolitan awareness. To the contrary, these approaches are forged and deployed by subjects with cosmopolitan consciousness, and who express transnationa l solidarity. Moreover, any reading of these works must account for the transnational economies within which the works themselves circulate. These economies are best illustrated with the two Bollywood films: produced in Indi a, shot in the United States, I ndia, and elsewhere, and distributed globally among the South Asian diaspora. In fact, even though th ese films are narratively enabling nationalism, their production economies indicate that they are also being used by Othered members of the South Asian dia spora to affirm their transnational roots and consciousness. Finally, my project engages with the possibilities that nationalistic approaches (rather than explicitly or mainly transnational ones) present to subaltern subjects while
15 recognizing that the nat ion state has engaged in the cultural and juridical Othering of these same subjects, and hence, may be hostile or resistant to these approaches. Thus, I also examine how these approaches are open to co optation by the hegemonic logic of the empire. What is the impact of grass roots resistance and mobilizing on the continued Othering of Muslims in the United States? Can acts of activism and radicalism interrupt an Orientalist discourse? Critique and Defense of Nationalism The passing of nationalism has been perhaps, preemptively heralded by postcolonial studies scholars who have critiqued it, or called for cosmopolitanism to take its place. Frantz Fanon, for instance, articulated one of the most resounding critiques of nationalism related to anti colonial m ovements. He anticipates the limitations of 153). In such a condition, the anti colonial movement concludes with a reproduction of the ills of colonization because the national bourgeoisie adopts the exploitative practices which characterized the colonial period (152). Fanon does not deny the capacity of the bourgeoisie to articulate and implement a vision of equality but he points out that a failure to implement that vision after independence will eventually allow a narrow minded tribalism to shatter national unity (158). Similarly, Partha Chatterjee draws attention to the systematic exclusion of minorities in the ne wly constituted nation state after independence. In The Nation and Its Fragments a work on Indian nationalism, Chatterjee writes that ideals of freedom, equality, and cultural refinement went hand in hand with a set of dichotomies that systematically exc luded from the new life of the nation the vast masses of people whom the dominant elite would represent and lead, but who could never be culturall y integrated with their leaders (134)
16 The problems of false essentialisms and exclusions arise when nationali st projects construct national identity based on tradition, as a temporal, spatial cultural location uncontaminated by colonization. In this process of reclaiming an originary past, or delimiting spiritual or cultural traditions as the basis of national c onsciousness, certain traditions are privileged over others. These privileged traditions become sedimented into hegemonic ideology when the promise of freedom and equality is unmet. Despite these concerns about anti colonial and bourgeois nationalism, Chat terjee does not suggest a post parsed, indicates that the revolutionary potential of the bourgeois can not be underestimated. Before I discuss these two aspects, I want to briefly turn to Arjun Appadurai, per haps one of the most important theorists to uphold the potential of globalization and a post national moment. In Modernity at Large work on globalization, he argues that the cultural flows of globalization have challenged both methodological and ethical, of the nation accepts th at the move from transnational movements to transnational governance remains unchartered and unclear, he also believes that the nation state concept is too beset by challeng es to be viable unit of governance anymore (20). Thus, Appadurai presuppose the...existence of the nation and other cr itics in this vein, have embraced globalization uncritically. Indeed, in the years since Modernity at Large was published, Appadurai himself has tempered his recurrent stron g critique of nationalism, and the nation state as concepts that have
17 outlived their usefulness. To summarize, nationalism has been variously characterized as given to reproducing the oppressive logic of colonialism on minorities within the state, supporti ng neoimperialist practices, and engaging in narrow minded ethnic politics. Based on this characterization, the neoliberal nation state is similarly critiqued as an outdated concept that has insufficiently protected minority rights. These critiques of nati onalism and the nation state, however, fail to sufficiently account for the continuing popular appeal of nationalism. Instead, as Neil Lazarus writes, kind of return of the repr 69). Lazarus characterizes such a generalization as disingenuous because it casts the nationalism of the metropolitan West as a completed project, and benign and modern (in contradistinction to the anarchic and irrational nationalisms of the Global South), and points out that this critique of nationalism emanates in elitist centers and conditions within capitalist nations in the West (69). In a similar vein, Chatterjee writes that the move to impute recent on the [European] origins of nationalism and more than a hint of anxiety about whether Third World also elides the recent social and political minority movements in the West, for eg, the Civil Rights movement i n the United States. Moreover, even critics such as Chatterjee are not suggesting an end to nationalism or the nation state. To the contrary, Chatterjee argues that the nation state
18 y resolution of the problems within [the nation state] could give us some of the theoretical Beyond the Nation? 57). These problems include the nation and its failure keeps the nation state from meeting the welfare needs of its c itizens, the latter leads to a charge of totalitarianism or authoritarianism against the nation state. Chatterjee suggests that these problems must be solved within the confines of the territorial state observation is born e out in the transnational capitalist system which undergirds the 7 modern empire, and deepens inequalities. Thi s transnational system is not more observation, Pheng Cheah concurs that when neoliberal ideology is aligned with into a common humanity, the moral universalism of human rights discourse can, paradoxically, be used to justify That human rights discourse can be used to support military interven tion in the Global South is a not unheard of occurrence in contemporary world history. It is against the ravages of uneven globalization that Samir Amin posits his concept of a strategic popular nationalism. I will develop this idea further in the next 7 As Hardt and Negri would note, the modern empire itself has overcome territorial boundaries.
19 cha pter, but briefly, this kind of nationalism brings the citizen into the protective ambit of the nation state, which wields its power on behalf of its citizens, and represents their ontext of my project because the Orientalist discourse deployed by the American empire had domestic as well as international consequences. The jingoistic nationalism which eventually led to military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq has its domestic co unterpart in the various acts and policies which gave state support to Muslim Othering. In fact, a jingoistic American nationalism was disguised in the rhetoric of human rights, liberty, and democracy so that military intervention could be justified. Only a transnational approach to address issues of Orientalism, hegemony, and empire will be insufficient to dismantle the entrenched national sensibilities within the territorial state. Thus far in this debate over cosmopolitanism and transnational structure and nationalism and the nation state, I have not discussed an important factor: minority rights. On the one hand, minorities might choose to remain invested in the nation state to pursue their rights, and on the other, transnational power structure might t hemselves be insufficient protectors of minority rights. While international bodies such as the United Nations are active supporters of human rights, and can bring substantial global pressure on nations, their regulatory power is also dependent on the will of member nations, and susceptible to the neoimperial policies of the empire. The influence of these international bodies should not be understated, but it is important to recognize, as Appadurai admits, that transnational regulatory bodies and structures are still in an emergent state (20). These bodies do not guarantee rights to national or cosmopolitan
20 subjects, and subjects who accept cosmopolitan or transnational identitie s as a result of Othering may be doing so under duress. In its most extreme and material form, this last factor has been witnessed in exile and forced migration. Some minority subjects might also be unwilling to cede their citizenship, and this has precedence in early Asian American history itself. The Othering of South Asian Muslims has an earlier historical precedent : the cultural, political, and legal marginalization of Asian Americans in the United States in the early and mid twentieth century. Without putting these two events in a 8 comparative framework, the detention of Muslims after 9/11 has certain parallels with Japanese internment during World War II. This earlier precedence of Othering was also supported by state policy ( including acts on immigration, land use, and miscegenation). Despite this troubled history and associati on with the state, Asian immigrants, staked a claim to the Amer ican nation These tensions over belonging have also played out in Asian American literary texts of the first half of the twentieth century. Aiiieeeee! the 1974 anthology of Asian American lit erature, contains what has since become a polarizing introduction to the exclusion of Asian Americans from the public sphere, the repercussions of this exclusion, and a call for the reclaiming of the American nation. The editors, including the noted writer and critic Frank Chin, decry the perpetual Otherness of Asian Americans whose unique Asian American sensibilities are not recognized as a part of American literature despite their almost century long presence in the United States (viii ix). These marginal ized subjects have no intention of claiming a different nation state or a cosmopolitan identity, 8 8 It is certainly important to not consider these two events as equivalent given differences in context, scope, method, and other factors. However, Asian American Studies scholars have evoked Japanese internment in discussions of post 9/11 detentions with regar d to the racial politics of citizenship and the policing of racialized bodies by the state.
21 because they considered themselves a part of the territorial American nation, and intended to rewrite its dominant literary and cultural codes. This stubborn reclaiming is given form in the exclamation, AIIIEEEEE!!! a cry that represents not only anger and despa ir but also the long stifled voice of a marginalized people who refused to be silent any longer (Aiiieeeee! Preface viii). This cry is unapologetical ly angry and bitter, and refused to be conciliatory to white hegemonic sensibilities. In a different essay, F rank Chin and Jeffery Paul Chan use non normative language, as one way to channel their Asian American sensibility, and express their intention of the charges with our writing. The object of our writing is no different from that of any (Racist Love 79). Al though the cultural nationalism articulated by Chin and others has since been critiqued for being defined upon heteropatriarchal norms, it is an important discourse of cit Ling 25). In other words, minority subjects drew upon the foundational principles outlined in the American constitution, as well as the international hu man rights discourse to issue a public call for rights. Despite its limitations, Asian Americans saw the call for a counterhegemonic nationalism as an act of dissent, rather than a capitulation to the hegemonic conceptualization of citizenship and belongin g because it challenged the racialized grounds on which that conceptualization had been crafted (Ling 25).
22 In a broader context, cultural products, such as literary texts, have been actively engaged in these debates over the nation state and nationalism, as evidenced in the Third World literatures now covered under Postcolonial Studies and the Asian American literature addressed in the previous sections. Simon Gikandi writes that due to a of the new world order The Satanic Verses but the nation state, its history, its foundational mythologies ( Gikandi 632, 634). Thus, even cultural products which are at the forefront of imagining the new world order are still inherently rooted in an opposition to the existing world order, the nation state. Re Imagining the Natio n State As I mentioned earlier, this project examines the reclamation of the nation state by South Asian Muslims, who articulate their citizenship and belonging through acts of activism and radicalism. In my first chapter, I examine two literary texts The Reluctant Fundamentalist a novel by the Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid, and The Domestic Crusaders a play by the American Pakistani play w right Wajahat Ali. I begin my analysis with The Reluctant Fundamentalist a work about the political awakening of a y oung Pakistani subject who first enjoys the privileges of globalization and elite cosmopolitanism, and then rejects it for advancing the hegemony of the American empire. This work is an outlier among the other works I analyze in one sense: its protagonist is a Pakistani citizen who returns to Pakistan at the end of the novel. It is relevant to my project, though, because the subject is politically and socially activated due to his experience of marginalization and alienation after 9/11 in the United States,
23 and the shadow of the American empire follows him to Pakistan. This is an important work for my project for two reasons first, it establishes the transnational capitalist structures within which the empire operates (a point that I will develop in conjunct ion Empire ), and the need for a strategic popular nationalism in the Global South. Second, this work speaks to the ambiguous and unexpected consequences of a reconstituted nationalism. I juxtapose the ambiguous ending of The Reluct ant Fundamentalist with the similarly unresolved conclusion of The Domestic Crusaders The latter work attempts to deconstruct damaging stereotypes about American Muslims by presenting a Muslim American family beset by challenges unique to Muslims living i n the United States. This work also presents the strategies taken up by young citizens who find that their claims to citizenship and national belonging have been challenged post 9/11. These young subjects face a duality similar to the one faced by Asian Am ericans decades ago. They are called upon by the hegemonic order to declare their fealty to the American state, but such a declaration must be made in opposition to their Muslim identity. At the same time, these subjects remain suspect because of their Mus limness. These subjects attempt to craft a Muslim American ethos by proposing civic activism within the American cultural and territorial space. However, the play ends on a stalemate and leaves unaddressed questions about the success of such an engagement with the neoliberal state. This play also introduces the specter of radicalism, which is presented here in the context of past foreign radicalism but becomes contemporary, domestic, and urgent later in the two Bollywood films.
24 These literary works stage a n important intervention in 9/11 fiction by presenting subaltern perspectives on the attack and its aftermath. Both works have been critically acclaimed. The Reluctant Fundamentalist, published in 2007, has since drawn academic as well as popular attention Many American universities have subscribed the book for the freshman common reading programs. Mira Nair, the noted film maker, is also directing a film based on the book that is slated for release in May 2013. The Domestic Crusaders was the first Muslim American play to debut on Off Broadway in Both works are invested in deconstructing the image of the Muslim Other that has become pervasive in the re energized Orientalis t discourses in American culture. Stereotypes about Islam, Muslims, and nations associated with Islam gained popular currency even in such supposedly objective fields as journalism and media. Within this charged and hegemonic public sphere, these works att empt to circulate a counter discourse that critiques the Othering of South Asian Muslims. These works also present an alternative subaltern perspective which has not been a part of dominant post 9/11 American literature. Margaret Scanlan, in an essay titl 9/11. She argues that earlier works, such as John Terrorist Falling Man, reinforced the hegemonic rhetoric in America, because, among other reasons, these works did not create a context that could include ordinary Muslims, people with differing political and religious perspectives (267) In response to this tradition, Scanlan traces novels by Hisham Matar, Kiran
25 itself as a haven for the oppressed, a fortress of secular reason besieged by a fanatical Orient, whose latest representatives are migrants bearing bombs and contag contain and manage the ambivalent afterlives of 9/11, marshaling overridingly Such literary works display an ambi valent historica l consciousness, exposing the selective amnesia which attempts to cover American imperialism and simultaneously exhibiting a longing to return to a past. Anker ne era of American omnipotence wherein white, heteronormative, patrician masculinity was still racial politics in the post 9/11 milieu so that issues of race are saniti zed and diminished. Falling Man and Netherland trace the psychological scarring and mental realignment of characters caugh t up in the The Reluctant Fundamentalist then are interrogative projects that engage in deterroriali zation and 9/11 fiction, Rachel Greenwald Smith writes that the post 9/11 novel has failed to create new forms or aesth etic experiences,
26 seeing and new ways of thinking, and we expect this upheaval in sensory, emotional, n to this commentary, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, even when it deploys experimental techniques ultimately formal argument in favor of retaining a consistency of U.S. centric values and Such critiques of 9/11 novels, as a genre, and particularly of preeminent American writers like Updike and DeLillo, appear to be harsh, particularly since these writers are very much invested in exposing the American exceptionalism which Anker frequently in analyses of 9/11 fiction, sheds some light on the critique of th ese works. According to Gray, these works suffer from a failure of the imagination in several ways. Firstly, they focus on early stages of trauma in which time is irreparably split into before and after time and the trauma is unrepresentable, irreconcilabl e, disruptive force is subsumed to the personal and domestic, and the 9/11 novels s Gray means that the opportunities presented by this disruption (for eg, a critical look at American hegemony, or new literary forms) can not emerge from these novels. Secondly, Gray writes that these dominant 9/11 novels are inadequate in their handling of strangeness a concept comparable to Otherness. The contemporary novel must address the liminality of
27 borders which enable transnational processes that, in turn, disrupt easy formulations of snational processes are positive. The 9/11 novel must also examine how imperial ideologies are floated through these processes.) Although the 9/11 novels are set in this liminal world, and derive creative energy from a traumatic event that has transnationa l linkages, these works turn inward to the domestic context and are supportive of hegemonic ideology. I look instead, to The Reluctant Fundamentalist and The Domestic Crusaders to look for an alternative imaginary that addresses Otherness without reproduc ing it on its protagonists. My project begins with an analysis of The Reluctant Fundamentalist a work that sets up the uneven economic globalization which results from the practices of the American empire inter nationally. Most scholars like Scanlan have a nalyzed this work from a cosmopolitan perspective, given that its protagonist travels internationally to develop a political consciousness, and this consciousness is rooted in an understanding of transnational capitalism. While such an approach is producti ve, it insufficiently accounts for his embrace of a national sphere for activism at the end of the work. I foreground this national activism, and argue for its need by looking at the works of Samir Amin, Pheng Cheah, and Hardt and Negri. The second part o f the first chapter examines The Domestic Crusaders another coming of age story set in the United how Othered youth negotiate their alienation and marginalization in socie ty. The play is particularly successful in nuancing intergenerational and generational responses to Othering and destabilizing any notion of a fixed or privileged form of resistance. Despite
28 its sensitive treatment of these issues, the work has not drawn significant scholarly attention yet. These two works offer a contrast to the two Bollywood films in that they qualify an embrace of nationalism, and envision potential challenges from the empire to the activism and radicalism espoused by subjects. The two films, My Name is Khan and New York which I analyze in the second chapter, are bounded by social convention, push normative ideals on citizenship and belonging. They also conclude on idealistic notes by positing the onset of a post Othering era. Despite these issues however, these films are important cultural texts that reverse the stereotypical portrayals of Muslims in Hollywood and Bollywood films for decades. Unfortunately, 9 Hollywood continues to promote damaging images of Muslims and Arabs after 9/11 Most of these films are in the action, thriller, or war genres, and they can be divided into two categories based on their geographical locatedness. A small number of films are set on American soil, while most of them are war films set in various locatio ns, but not necessarily shot, in the Middle East, Pakistan, or Afghanistan. In these next few paragraphs, I will briefly review some of these films to highlight their presentation of Muslims and Muslim countries. In almost all the films, the trope of the Muslim as an Other who is prone to violence (fundamentalist or otherwise), is recycled in some manner. Two of these films United 93 (2006), about the ill fated hijacked flight, and World Trade Center (2006), about fire fighters trapped in the World Trade Center rubble, have been much feted in popular culture for addressing the attacks on the World Trade Center. Both films although based on real charact ers or incidents, engage in myth making. These films 9 Slocum draws attention to the dearth of scholarship on this issue in his review essay on media scholarship after 9/11.
29 return the American viewer to the moment of unresolve d national trauma for therapeutic purposes. James Stone, in an essay on the visual pleasure of watching destruction, writes that while the attacks on the World Trade Center were turned into a spectacle, Hollywood was reluctant to address this destruction 10 directly (170). Thus, i n these two films, fire fighters and flight passengers are crafted as heroes so that the films provide figures around whom the nation can coalesce and celebrate an indomitable American spirit. Thomas Riegler labels these films as nar present triumphalist accounts of survival (157). In order to pursue this goal neither film provides a larger political or international context (which might indict American policies) for the attacks. Some of the other Hollywood films which are set substantially in the United States, and include major Muslim characters include Traitor (2008) and Unthinkable (2010), both about Muslim terrorists who attempt to set off bombs in various public spaces. Both films raise ethic al questions about government policies and actions after 9/11, and attempt to nuance the portrayal of the Muslim terrorist by adding depth to their characters and motivations. However, both films reinforce the cultural Othering of Muslims, particularly by repeating the stereotype of Muslims as terrorists who stand against Western values, and are ultimately alien to the American fabric of life. In a review of Traitor Americans and de Muslim American citizens who at the drop of a time are ready to carry out suicide, 10 others look at science fiction as an alternative genre to study Othering, alienation, and the visual pleasure of destruction.
30 Muslims living in America. Many of the other films that are set in the geopolitical realities of a post 9/11 world are war films set in the Middle East, Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or they are films about political intrigue. These films are populated by American soldiers, age nts, and advisors, civilians in now war torn areas, and the agents, advisors, and bureaucrats of other governments. Muslim terrorists are staples in such films. Syriana (2005) was one of the earliest films that explicitly locates its referential framework in the post 9/11 world. The film presents the transnational, and frequently nefarious, politics of oil that draw on a diversity of actors, ranging from governments and corporations to lobbyists and migrant labor. Both Syriana and later films like The King dom vested interest in the Middle East over oil production and supply and speak to American national interest in Iraq and Afganistan, the two international spheres directly impacted by the post 9/11 jingoistic nationalism The large st body of these films have been war films, following the lives of soldiers or covert agents, both involved in counter insurgency action. Redacted (2007), Rendition (2007), The Hurt Locker (2009), Green Zone (2010) are some of the films which explore the m ilitary and covert operations initiated by the United States after 9/11. These films are often critical of American military and covert operations and the myopic government which directs the theatre of war from afar. One of the purposes of these films is t o reveal ground realities of war, and the films particularly foreground the frustrations of American soldiers and covert agents who begin to question the ethics of war. These representations run against the grain of official discourse which justifies milit ary
31 interventions and troop surges with ideological standpoints. Viewers are primarily aligned with the perspective of and empathize with the American soldiers and agents, who although suffering in the war, are still privileged in relation to the civilians in the region. Thus, although the works are set in international locales, and draw upon a he Others depicted in these films are supporting or secondary characters. This action/war genre of film making remains popular among film makers, and recent films like Zero Dark Thirty (2012) are its latest iterations which privilege a hegemonic American p erspective. This last film, which has garnered rave reviews, has also been critiqued for its perspective on torture. The film traces the decade long search for Osama bin Laden and vividly documents the various forms of torture used by American agencies to obtain leads on his whereabouts. While such a depiction of torture played in eventua lly finding bin Laden. Matt Taibbi maintains in a review that the the misleading information that torture produces, its moral corruption of torturers, and its role in undermining American credibility internationally (Taibbi). In this line of argument, the film is a direct predecessor of earlier films such as United 93 and World Trade Center Despite its flawed heroes, it upholds the spirit of American exceptionalism. S imilar issues over Muslim representation have also followed Bollywood films.
32 and communal struggles within the Indian nation state, and the often tense Indo Pak relations. The 1950s and 1960s saw the flourishing genre of the Muslim Social, in which Indian Muslim protagonists were central to the film. Well known Muslims Socials include Mughal e Azam and Pakeezah These films were often set in the socio political context of Mughal rule in India, and depicted that cultural heritage with respect. Chadha and Kavoori argue that in this first phase of representation, Muslims, specifically the Muslim aristocracy, were cast as exotic Others who had impeccable manners and lived romantic lives amidst grandeur (136 137). Although these films did not account for the lived reality of Muslim life in India, they idealized the Mughal aristocracy and per iod. The marked turn in the depiction of Muslim characters came after the 1970s. According to protagonists were present in the narrative and not entirely erased, they only a ppeared in (138 139). Some of these explicit identifiers were skull caps, sherwanis, paan (betel leaf), and prayer beads. Films such as Amar Akbar Anthony and Sholay epitom ized the marginalization of India Muslim protagonists on screen. This time period marked the rise of secular films that depicted communal unity as well as the rise of negative depictions of Muslims. The latter type continued to gain currency in the 80s, a nd by the 90s, the Muslim as terrorist Other type had become ossified in Bollywood. In this last stage of representation, Muslims were now the demonized Other, and presented as criminals, corrupt bureaucrats, terrorists, or Pakistani war mongers (Chadha an d Kavoori 140).
33 he whose loyalty to the motherland could not be counted upon and needed to be ritually the Bollywood film. Chakrovarty also draws attention to another change after the 90s references to Pakistan became more explicit, and the collapsing of religious and national identities (i.e. Pakistan with Islam) further alienated the Indian Muslim prot agonist on screen. Such dramatic cinematic changes reflect the turbulent times faced by the Indian state in the 80s and 90s. Two successful assassinations of Indian prime ministers (India Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguard in 1984, and Rajiv Gandhi by a suicide bomber belonging to the Tamil Tigers in 1991), the demolition of the Babri Masjid (and ensuing communal riots) in 1992, the Bombay Blasts in 1993, and the Kargil War in 1999 are a few pivotal events which speak to the tensions over communalism, terrorism, militancy, and nationhood in India during that time period. Roja (1993), Sarfarosh (1999), and Mission Kashmir (2000) mark the concurrent turn towards demonization of Muslims on screen. All three films deal with concerns of terrorism in India, Muslim separ atist groups in Kashmir, in Roja and Mission Kashmir and terrorists sponsored by the Pakistani state in the latter. Indian Muslims characters are depicted as violent fundamentalists who maintain ties with Pakistan and attempt to undermine the Indian state through terrorism. Although the Kashmir issue serves as the de facto motivation for terrorist activities in these films, they Kashmir and its manipulation by politician s on both sides or of the factors that underpin
34 The latter depiction of Muslims as Others, either internal Others who are terrorists or external (i.e. Pakistani) Others who threaten India, has continued i n the post 9/11 years, fuelled by international tensions, as well as regional events. LOC Kargil (2003) recreates the 1999 Kargil War between India and Pakistan, and follows in the tradition of earlier films such as Border (1997) which purportedly condemn war, but also serve to celebrate the Indian army. Several films continue to show Pakistani sponsored Muslim terrorists operating in India. I bring up these films not to question their accuracy or objectivity with regard to characters or events (after all, they are dramatizations and make no claim to realist depictions) but rather to point out that their negative depiction of Muslims is not counterbalanced within the Bollywood film industry. Later films continue to marginalize or demonize Muslims. For instan ce, Fanaa (2006) recreates the character of the terrorist Muslim with divided loyalties who is eventually killed by his Indian lover in order to stop him from delivering crucial equipment to his terrorist group. The film does humanize the terrorist by show ing his concern for his lover, and entrapment in a culture of violence, but it also serves to reiterate the staged conflict between religion and nation which Muslim characters, but not other national subjects, are put through. Bollywood films have rarely d ealt with the socio economic and political challenges faced by Muslim communities in India. And although Muslims are a crucial part of film production, and some of the most bankable actors in the film industry are Muslim, these actors are generally called upon to play characters, who are identified either as non religious or as characters with Hindu names. This incongruity is not as glaring as it may appear to be these actors work in depoliticized contexts in which
35 social reality is expected to be divorce d from cinematic depiction. These actors are also not expected to demonstrate an energetic Muslim identification in their daily life. Shah Rukh Khan, who plays the lead role in My Name is Khan is no stranger to the paradoxes of being Muslim in India, and in the post 9/11 world. In 2010, after he Premier League, an international cricket series, Hindu nationalists threated violence if My Name is Khan was released. Khan was c 2013, he became the center of another controversy over an article he wrote for Outlook magazine. In the article, he drew attention to his repeated racial profiling and strip searching at American airports because of his name, and being chosen as a community representative in India f in non violence (Outlook). In a section which inflamed many Hindu nationalists, Khan observed that he had sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about M uslims in India. There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation rather than my own country this even though I am an Indian who father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held were leader s have exhorted me to leave my home I quote this extended section because it gives a small glimpse at the climate in which Bollywood films are rooted, and in which they are interpreted. This section was the Indian people and nation. Neither his heritage, nor his status in India makes Khan immune to charges of divided loyalty, a charge faced by Muslims i n India as well as the United States. Although the article expresses both gratitude to his Indian fans, and pride
36 in the Indian nation, the selective reading qualify to be called that) indicates the unwillingness of Hindu n ationalists, and others in the media, to brook any critique or even acknowledgement of the social, political, and economic conditions that Indian Muslims live in. My analysis of these two films in Chapter 3 acknowledges these transnational networks and pro duction economies in which the films are made meaningful.
37 CHAPTER 2 THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST THE DOMESTIC CRUSADERS In a far reaching argument about the problematic linkages between Ame rican transnational economic, political, and ideological networks on which it relies have been s claim that cultural products have failed to expose American imperialism, especially 9/11 moment (250). A myopic focus on the national stage and sentiment enabled the jingoistic nationalism which, in turn, resulted in the foreign and domestic policy issues that I outlined in the directly by other scholars writing about post 9/11 fiction. A similar critiq ue as articulated by other scholars such as Margaret Scanlan and Richard Gray is also discussed in the Introduction. As I note in the Introduction, nationalism provides a productive lens in the context of literature and popular culture, to study how these works of literature and popular culture address issues of Othering, hegemonic power structures, and citizenship. Specifically, these works embrace the nation by performing activism on a national stage (Pakistan, in The Reluctant Fundamentalist and the Un ited States, in The Domestic Crusaders ), but with a transnational consciousness that avoids the myopic perspective Dawson writes about. More than the films I analyze in the next chapter, both these works are concerned with an emergent, rather than establis hed, activism. As a result, key part of the novel as well as play. These protagonists are the fictive foils to the
38 Muslim youth of whom Bayoumi and Maira write about. They grapple with questions of identity, belonging, and citizenship. Above all, each of these youths strives to find an appropriate and satisfying response to their Othering. Thei r responses are not all activism oriented, and while some are proposed, othe rs are already in effect. Moreover, the protagonists do not all produce responses that are Islamic in nature, even if they are Othered as Muslims. Indeed, the protagonist of The Reluctant Fundamentalist is turned into a Muslim through interpellation by a h ostile society rather than by self identification. His activism remains driven by his affiliation as a Pakistani national than a Muslim (in this sense, he is both a nationalist as well as an activist). In this chapter I examine these vari ous nuances of act ivism in the two works: the spaces and forms of these activisms, the challenge they pose to the American empire, and the response of the empire to the citizen activists. Given the focus on youth, this chapter is substantially devoted to how Othering leads to the development of a political consciousness that is expressed through activism. Economic Fundamentalism and Popular Nationalism in The Reluctant Fundamentalist To situate the economic fundamentalism which lies at the heart of The Reluctant Fundamental ist and inspires a change in the protagonist, it is first necessary to review certain key ideas developed by Hardt and Negri on Empire, and Pheng Cheah, and Samir Amin on economic globalization. Hardt and Negri although often critiqued now for prematurely anticipating an end to empire, establish important facets about the new world order in the post colonial world. They argue that the modern day Empire, a it hews to no terr itorial borders (xiv). They also argue that the Empire presents itself as
39 o affect the lives of people because it structures itself as an arbiter and regulator of ethics and human nature. In essence, it has the capacity for comprehensive power and control subsumes be seen as an important node that is capable of injecting certain values into the transnational operation of Empire. In my analysis, I foreground the America n empire, rather than the Empire, as a hegemonic and oppressive institution because it wields ertain parameters for the opera tion of the American empire which certainly aspires to transgress spatiality in terms of its power but it does so in order to funnel resources (material, labor, etc) to a territorial state and its beneficiaries. This empire a lso operates on an internal hegemonic and moral ethic which justifies its outward push. For instance, the discourse of international human rights can be deployed to mask nationalistic projects in other countries. Perhaps these deterretorialized ethico pol itical operations of the empire are best revealed in the transnational capitalist system which undergirds the empire and carries its value system internationally. Pheng Cheah writes that states become denationalized of the global economic system by internalizing Inhuman Conditions 32). Furthermore, deregulation and the weakening of state sovereignty, a
40 subjects without the protective sphere of the nation state. Instead, subjects, now interpellated as labor, serve the global marketplace and are exposed to its inequalities, hierarchies of power, and dehumanizing effec ts. Samir Amin articulates this Marxist critique strongly when he discusses global polarization. He argues that that the nations monopolies over technology, financial mark ets, worldwide natural resources, media and communication, and advanced weaponry (4 5). In such a context, nationalism, even if it is construed as a project of protectionism, benefits citizens. ne out in The Reluctant Fundamentalist Transnational flows bring subjects from the Global South to the center of the empire where they are co opted into doing the work of the empire. Suitably, the protagonist serves in a corporate, apparently cosmopolitan system which eventually reveals its imperial ideology. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a tale of political awakening narrated in retrospect by a Pakistani nationalist, Changez, to an unnamed, mysterious American. Changez and the American are in a post 9/ 11 milieu in Pakistan, and the story unfolds through extensive flashbacks. The plot is narrated entirely in a first person monologue by Changez, and his voice mediates the too, are presented to the reader by Changez. Many ambiguities are incorporated into the plot: i t remains unclear whether the American is friendly, or a spy sent to assassinate Changez, whether Changez is a non violent activist or has become a violent rea
41 flashbacks trace his younger years in America, first as a student at Princeton and later as a well paid business analyst at Underwood Samson, a fictional valuation firm in New York. In his flashbacks, Changez testifies to the changes that the United States undergoes post 9/11, and how Othering leads him to develop a political consciousness and become an activist. In the pre 9/11, Changez enjoys the benefits of being aligned with a global ca pitalistic economy that is apparently based on a meritocracy, rather than identity politics. Although the young Changez is aware of social inequalities, especially at Princeton, where he is surrounded by financially privileged students, he hides his own st ruggles and strives to overcome his relative poverty through hard work. The retrospective Changez who narrates his story is aware that a process of selection mediates access to the elite side of globalization. This process of selection is skewed in the dir ection of what he later realizes is the American empire while New York is the only in the light of its magnificent ruins. This uneven economic development is not unre lated to colonial and neo colonial factors. Further, access to the New York global centre and its elite labor opportunities are precluded by access to education, preferably at a well known institution. Changez notes that even within the selective admission s process at Princeton, the odds are in favour of Americans, rather than Pakistanis. His clearer when top firms come to recruit graduates here.
42 When he is hired at Underwood Samson, a fictional valuation firm and a top choice for graduating seniors, his dreams appear to have been realized in many ways. Underwood Samson epitomizes a system wh ere ambition, hard work, and intelligence appear to be valued over racial, religious, or national identity. The workplace has a mix of ethnic and gender differences yet, Changez realizes that all the trainees are similar in terms of their elite education al background. Despite this uneasy understanding, Changez attempts to find conciliation in an emergent deracialized identity that promises equality of access and treatment. As a trainee at the Underwood Samson office in New York City, racial and ethnic tie s are loosened in favor of a corporate identity, based on principles of efficiency, systematic pragmatism, and maximum return (36, 37). Changez sloughs off his Pakistani identity in favor of a corporate, apparently apolitical identity: being a trainee. Swe pt up in the multicultural glamour of the city, he declares that immediately uneasy negotiation of a corporate, rather than ethnic or national identity, linked to a city should be inter preted as a cosmopolitan identity in formation. This identity formation contributes to his later political awakening so I would like to explore it in some detail first. Saskia Sassen in Globalization and its Discontents observes that the new economic conf iguration of globalization is based on a grid of global cities, which serve as control nodes, headquarters, for service industries that mobilize capital flows. who challe are the privileged and mobile elites who control corporate power and enact what Ong
43 aligned g 6; Sassen xxi). Changez could be said to embody flexible citizenship. Although he does not possess the multiple pa ssports which symbolize the flexible citizenship of the elite Chinese migrants Ong surveys, Changez has transnational mobility by virtue of his work at a prestigious pre Changez is situated in the kind of flow of capital and labor encouraged by globalization. His work places him not only in the service sector, which has become a mark er of globalization, but also in New York City, a global center for the service industry in the United States. The mobility and opportunities presented to Changez are characteristic of the experiences of corporate elites in the labor and capital flows that undergird globalization. This post national identity formation resonates with the belief that globalization would help set the stage to express a new kind of postnational belonging. However, this post national identity formation is challenged, first, by to an American identity, and second, by his Othering after 9/11, which forces him into a racial, national, and religious schema. In the first instance, his pursuit of a corporate cosmopolitan identity gradually turns into the pursuit of a hegemonic American identity. His desire to assimilate is most clearly visible in his behavior in Manila on a business trip before 9/11, and his allegorical relationship with Erica, an American and a fellow Princeton graduate, after 9/11. This undermining of his racial and national identity is
44 foreshadowed by key names in the text. While Hamid cautions the reader to avoid firm is ultimately aligned closer with A merican imperialism that Changez initially understands. Similarly, (Am)Erica, becomes the woman/nation he desires (Hamid 237). The Manila trip marks the culmination of his short lived, but intense desire to be identified both as a corporate elite as well a s an American, to reap the benefits of both identities. His alignment of the two identities reveals that the former is endowed with gravitas in the light of the latter, which is privileged and which privileges the individual among other nationals. Und er Changez a first class ticket, and an expensive hotel suite, but it does not accord him the respect which he notices his Filipinos colleagues bestowing on his American colleagues. His American colleagues are Changez has to act the part (65). Suddenly embarrassed of the poverty of Lahore, he adopts American mannerisms, and begins telling Filipinos that he is from New York. This time, New York is not intended to represent a deterretorialized city or cosmopolitanism. Rather, Changez evokes its geographical rootedness, and in the process, attributes the city as a node in the American empire. Although he makes this attribution, he does not realize its imp lications till after 9/11. Changez is not unaware of his play acting, but he persists because it earns him the monetary and social privileges that his once wealthy family possessed. Temporarily, his presence in an American service industry, enables him to r eclaim the elite position his family enjoyed.
45 Manila, however, also marks the beginning of the change in Changez as the events of 9/11 unfold the night before his team is set to return to New York. His towers shocks him and the moment brands him as un American. When he returns to the U.S., he finds that he has also been branded as anti American, an Other, and he endures longer questioning and checking at the airport while his colleagues leave him to reu nite with their families. Gradually, this Othering is also reflected in his rejection by Erica, who appeared, initially, to be interested in him. In order to woo Erica, who is locked into bereavement for a long dead lover, Changez, at one point, asks Erica to pretend that he is Chris, her dead lover, so they can have sexual intercourse. Her long mourning is reminiscent of the trope of pining that is common in the tradition of romantic love. However, her embrace of nostalgia is also a reflection of the post 9/11 moment in the United States. If his short lived and failed relationship with Erica is read as an allegory for his relationship with America, these words about how he should proceed with his relationship become d to choose whether to continue to try to win her over or to accept her wishes and leave, and in the end I chose the latter. Maybe, I told agency indicate that (Am) Er ica has ultimately rejected him The test he has presumably failed, particularly in the post 9/11 world, is his inability to control his Otherness. This moment in the text marks another ideological displacement from America, and a renew ed sense of nationalism, that Changez first plays down as a lowly tribalism.
46 In the post 9/11 world, national identities are reasserted and reified, even in the cosmopolitan offices of Underwood Samson where Changez is suddenly repositioned as an alien, and an Other. Changez notes with displeasure that in the global city, New York, American flags flutter everywhere after 9/11. This patriotic fervor is a reaction to, and acceptance of, the marking of New York as an American site, rather than a global city, by the terrorists. In this world, Changez can no longer assimilate, even if he wanted to. Instead of assimilating, he has begun sporting a beard a renewed marker of his nationality. The beard is embodied with symbolism. For Changez, it is a declaration and marker of his Pakistani ness because he has started to become concerned about the brewing tensions in South Asia. It also marks his departure from the corporate cosmopolitan as American identity formation. I n the charged political context he now live s in, the beard also acquires religious overtones. The combination of his racial features and this apparent religious symbol leads to his in terpellation as a Muslim. In a x enophobic moment, he is accosted by a he has not demonstrated any Islamic or religiou s inclinations. Even his budding concerns are for the Pakistani nation rather than for Islam The title of the book refers to his reluctance to be either a religious fundamentalist, or subscribe to the economic fundamentalism which Underwood Samson comes to symbolize. Although Changez
47 ceton graduates earning eighty e inequalities are ever present in 1 global cities, but they are exacerbated during the national crisis that is 9/11. Rejected from the fold, Changez begins to question the nature of th that he is supposedly fighting in the interest of global capitalism and maximum efficiency. The threat which permeates the book then is a form of economic e fficiency, profit, and finance. This fundamentalism claims to be amoral and apolitical, Chile, finally disabuses him of his perception of his role in the globalized econ omy. This commission, undertaken to value a book publishing firm, will result in the shutting down of the trade section of the business. In economic terms, this loss incurring section is a drag on the business, but in another sense, this arm signifies nati ve cultural value which is undermined by a form of economic fundamentalism that is filtered through the narrative lens of the West. Juan Bautista, the manager of the publishing firm, also evokes the implication of a warrior metaphor that Changez has thus f ar been hesitant to voice. Juan Bautista tells Changez about the janissaries, generally Christian boys taken from their families who were converted to Islam, and conscripted into the Ottoman army. In their heyday, the janissary corps was one of the elite a nd feared armies in the world, and buttressed the strength of the Ottoman rule. Families often willingly sent their sons to join the janissaries because of the prestige associated with the corps, and the 1 emergence of a service economy.
48 possibilities of upward mobility it afforded. Juan B autista attributes their ferocity a nd loyalty to their capture and indoctrination at a young age. Having grown up in the ngez could clearly not be a janissary, having been too old when he came to the United States for his education, both pins like corps, as well as opens the possibility for him to leave the corps. This metaphor resonat abandoned his family (and country) to serve instead in an army that has no interest in the welfare of Pakistan. While the units of finance and globalized capital claim to be apolitical, they in fact prese rve inequities of power among nations, and within nations. If into conscious political co opportunity (Robbin s in Cosmopolitics 10 ). The American empire selects the best soldiers to further its economic interests, while its military side keeps errant nations in check. Once Changez has made this connection, its truth is borne to him in numerous ways. Changez recog nizes the cycles of American aid and sanctions to the developing from Valparaiso, Changez rem armed sentries manned the check post at which I sought entry; being of a suspect race I was quarantined and subjected to additional inspection; once admitted I hired a charioteer who belonged to a serf cla ss lacking the requisite permission to abide legally and forced therefore to accept work at lower pay; I myself was a form of indentured servant whose right to remain was dependent upon the continued benevolence of my employer (157).
49 His political awakenin g following his Othering leads him to a growing political and personal interest in Pakistan, and a renewed sense of nationalism. This change is also a response to the tense rhetoric of war between India and Pakistan in that time period, or his family if a war ensues. Having come to terms with this project, Changez dissociates from it, abandons his commission in Valparaiso, is fired from Underwood Samson, and returns to Pakistan. nctly recognized as that of a nationalist. He embraces the nation as the site for his activism which is intended to counter American hegemony. In an often quoted section, Changez remarks to the retreated not only of brain drain in South Asia. His return to Pakistan, which precedes hi s strategic nationalism, is the beginning of his activism in as much as it rejects the lure of the American empire. Once in Pakistan, he begins a job as a university lecturer in business and finance, an act that seeks to equalize the economic playing field between the two countries in the long run. Changez disrupts the cyclical production of knowledge and talent in privileged contexts. Moreover, he becomes more than a teacher to his students. He becomes a counselor and mentor to students, advising them on m atter
50 mestic and ular teacher and mobilizer and his time is taken that I was often forced to stay on until...I had dealt satisfactorily with the curricular and around whom a motley crowd of protestors organize. For instance, at a demonstration at an event attended by an American ambassador, thousands of people of differ ent should ies of globalization to address the inequities sustained by the mobility of capital. He argues the state can protect the social and labor interests of its interests ( Sam ir Amin in Cosmopolitics currently no transnational regularly agencies that can moderate the polarization of expe riences have already indicated that the liberatory and equalizing promise of a of contention though. He receives warnings from the university but the popularity of his c ourses keeps him from being suspended. Further, the pointed questions that the American asks him in the concluding pages leads the reader to wonder about the nature of this activism. Changez observes that the demonstrations he has orchestrated
51 became label this is the attempt of a hegemonic news media to discredit him is unclear. He admits the outbreak of violence which has occurred at demonstrations, but assures the American believer in non violence; the spilling of blood is abhorrent to me, save in assassination attempt, he expresses surprise and denies any involvement in the matter. Above (181). Hamid ultimately leaves the result of this return to strategic nationalism, par ticularly the response of the empire, ambiguous. The book ends on cliff hanger the American may be a CIA assassin sent to assasinate Changez because he poses a threat to the United States with his brand of activism, or Changez may indeed have become a re ligious fundamentalist and attempted to kill the American. A third possibility includes a non violent ending to the book in which the gleam Changez observes when the American reaches into his pocket is that of a card holder, rather than a gun, and the nove reader ci tizens, and that it has registered (if in a small way) on American consciousness (whether the American man is a spy or a reporter, he is in Pakistan and interested in Changez). Both these points reclaim the national space as a site for citizen activism,
52 pa rticularly to address the specific issue of Muslim Othering and the general social inequalities engendered by and inherent to globalization. Familiar Conflict and the Nation State in The Domestic Crusaders Like The Reluctant Fundamentalist the play is con cerned with presenting Muslim voices in a public sphere that has been dominated by a hegemonic constructs about How Does It Feel To Be A Problem? They both create nuanced portraits of Muslims and Mus lim families. As Bayoumi observes, there has been sufficient drawing of profiles (or racial profiling), and generations of a Muslim family (of Pakistani descent) living in the United States a grandfather who lived through the India Pakistan Partition, Pakistani parents who came to the United States as a young couple, and three adult children born and raised in the United States. The play is set in a post 9/11 moment and t he hegemonic voice coming characters. However, as in The Reluctant Fundamentalist all other voices, whether hegemonic or minority, are filtered through and repor ted by the mai n characters. The domestic staging of the play with all the acts set inside the family home, anticipates the national stage on which the young activists act. In The Domestic Crusaders the protagonists make the nation a site of activism as a way of claiming their rights in the United States and reaffirming their belonging and American citizenship. In my analysis of political consciousness and Muslim youth activism in the play, I will focus closely on the implications of the family drama, part icularly the vertical reading of intergenerational conflict which can be subverted in the service of the empire.
53 old in the culturally specific The protagonists in the play undermine prevalent stereotypes of Muslims in American society by occupying multiple and often mother, Khulsoom, and her American raised daughter, Fatima, revea ls the nuancing that Wajahat Ali attempts. The play opens with the adhan the call to prayer, playing on the radio as Khulsoom cooks in the kitchen. Having established this religious marker, then deconstruct the image of the radical Musl im. She completes a short five second prayer while sitting in a chair, and then takes off the already loose hijab on her head so that it hangs on her shoulders like a scarf. Changing the radio channel, she puts on a station broadcasting Tom Jones. Khulsoom hijab challenges what Spivak has identified as a recurring imperial trope: This rhetoric was used by the United States to justify the wars in the Middle East, particularly in Afg hanistan, where shows that the Western rhetoric of the oppression of Muslim women is simplistic. Women do choose to wear the hijab, and are not always castigated for remo ving it. Later in the play, when Fatima continues to wear her hijab at home, her father, Salman,
54 Indeed, if adherence to religious precepts is weighed in the play, Fatima, the young Americ an law student, emerges as the most religious in the family. Despite her does not allow the viewer to construct the binary of the liberal mo ther and the extremist daughter either, the non Khu lsoom might show less adherence to religious principles, but she espouses other values that could be considered stereotypical for a South Asian mother she complains proposa ls. Fatima immediately criticizes this position as one which renders women subservient to their husband, and places women in the kitchen and the domestic household. Fatima is an outspoken feminist who is critical of the typecast daughter in law: traditiona l, light skinned, good looking, and able to cook. Fatima is also critical of and affect piety and modesty at Pakistani family parties (31). The intergenerational family conf lict represents the universal aspect of the play (which Ali has referred to), while the causes vary depending on specific cultural and family concerns. As a devout tra ditional and familial norms by dating a black Muslim (7). Fatima is also one of the two civic activists in the play. She is one of the muhajjabahs, Muslim sisters, who are protesting American imperialism nationally and in the Middle East (10). Given her tr ansnational sensibilities, she is also critical of her older brother, Salahuddin, who
55 embraces the capitalist system. Sal is not unlike an early version of Changez, who believes that finance and capitalism hold the key to resolving social inequities. Like Changez, he also attempts to date outside his religion. One of the recurrent peer actually contributing to furthering the American empire. This is the kind of polyphony of Muslim characters, responses, and activisms which Scanlan and Morey noted as being missing from the genre of the terrorist novel. Political dialogue and arguments about policies and responses are sustained throughout the play. Even more than The Reluctan t Fundamentalist this play traces different responses and activisms which are activated as a result of Othering. The play enables both a horizontal and vertical reading of character positions. All three generations have been exposed to upheavals in which Muslims were negatively affected, and attempted to resolve the situations differently. Hakim, the grandfather, lived through the India Pakistan Partition and reacted with violence to avenge the death of his friends. I will return to his example towards th e end of this chapter. The parents, new immigrants to the United States, carved a space in the local American community while drawing minimal attention to themselves. Salman, the father, narrates the foundational role he and other Muslims played in gatheri ng the Muslims in the area and creating the first communal space in which Muslims could gather and pray. Their actions crafted a Muslim community which supports the new immigrants, and introduces les to establish this community leave him embittered when he re experiences Othering in the post 9/11 society. More than the other characters, he expresses his frustration and disgust at the
56 slam. Blame another Amreekan general telling Americans. Salman has come to believe that his children must capitalize on his hard earned success by renewing it through financial stability and community recognition (especially among other Pakistani Muslims). This stance creates intergeneration al conflict in the family. A major crisis point in the play occurs when Ghafur, the youngest son, unexpectedly announces to his family that he has decided to pursue an education in history, with a specialization in Middle East, Islam, and Arabic, instead o f medicine. He wants to educate the community about Islam, and is willing to teach at any level of school or college that he can access. Before Ghafur announces his decision, he narrates an incident of racial profiling that has become very common since 9/1 1. As he is waiting to board a flight home, he becomes intensely aware of his own subjectivity and the gaze of the hegemonic institution on him Illustrated in my back pocket a are all markers that have been made into aberrations at an airport since 9/11. He recalls disturb the psychological and m Predictably, he is pulled aside at the last minute for an extra screening, which is now judgement from the other passengers. H
57 on by, witnessing the Muslim and deemed necessary because of the Othering of Muslims. Specifically, Ghafur talks about the misinformation that has be en fed to the American public and which dives their paranoia. represents the problematic tendency of displacement which allows the empire to act by proxy (of the family) to nullif American literature (Lowe). Lowe also notes that such a reading is problematic because critique of oppressive social conditions shifts to a critique of family members (Lowe). Unfortunately, in The Domestic Crusaders this dynamic is not simply the result of critics t rying to impose their reading on the text. As the name of the play suggests, the play is set up to focus on the family, and the intergenerational family dynamics at the centre of the play invites a reading of generational differences. While The Reluctant F undamentalist leaves the reaction of the empire ambiguous because of its opaque conclusion, The Domestic Crusaders enables the hegemonic voice of the empire to strike through the intergenerational conflict. The displacement of critique from national and s ocial formations to the family, that announcement to establish themselves as new immigrants in an Americ an community. Certainly, a part of their reaction may be attributed to the valorization of fields such as medicine, and
58 tation. However, his parents are also concerned that Ghafur has not taken into account their decades long struggle, as Muslims and new immigrants, to achieve a certain class and community standard in the United States. For Salman, this struggle is ongoing: he reveals to his wife that despite his years of service and good work in his engineering firm, he has been denied a promotion. The promotion is instead given to another Muslim who is perceived as more authentic because of physical markers such as a beard and hence a more persuasive company representative to travel to the Middle East. The racialized decision that his supervisor makes allows the company to commercialize authenticity to its own benefit, pointment conceals a sharp critique of American society, and its ability to alternatively exoticize or demonize the Other. On the one hand, Salman and his family are marked as Muslims, and suffer from stereotyping in the post 9/11 society, and at the same time, are seen as being insufficiently authentic in certain contexts. The decision to award the promotion also challenges the image of America as a meritocratic society. culminates in a polarizing and physical altercation: Salman eventually loses his temper and slaps Ghafur. Sal jumps in and holds his father back, further angering the latter and driving a wedge in their already tense relationship. The altercation exacerbat es work resonate with the experiences his children have had, but the play denies t hem the
59 possibility of using these common experiences to form intergenerational solidarity. Salman reveals his disappointment in a private conversation to Khulsoom, and explicitly forbids her from sharing it with anyone else in the family. This kind of ve rtical reading emblematizes precisely the displacement that Lowe identified. Although the play does not allow an overt hegemonic voice to speak against fractures solidarity and thwarts mobilizing. The family, symbolic of the Muslim community, fails to arrive at a consensus about how to respond to its Othering, and worse, imposes a secondary alienation on its members. Such a reading of the intergenerational conflict undermine Muslim family to American society because it simultaneously allows the family unit to be co opted into the imperial discourse. The vertical, intergenerational model of reading can not be completely abando ned in The Domestic Crusaders but its reductive effects may be ameliorated if the play is also subjected, as Lowe proposes, to a horizontal susceptible to co option, it also pulls off a wild card climax that disrupts the status quo of young man. H is story caps the dramatic events of the day, which have included a return of history to haunt the pr a young man during Partition. Angered that the Hindu killers of his Muslim friends are
60 those who killed our people sanctioned justice, private feelings and justice take over. Although Hakim does not paint himself as a religious fundamentalist, a violent nationalist, or as an instigator of violence, he admits to his implying that he killed a number of men (99). At the end of the story, Hakim concurs memories and screams that he has had to live it (101). However, he also asks his grandchildren not to judge him too harshly, and to consider the context that he acted in. appears to have polarized the family even further as some characters condemn him unequivocally while others try to defend him. However, their reactions also make possible the heretofore unrealized potential for intergenerational Muslim solidarity. Fatima and Ghafur are ag hast and together, condemn the use of violence. Given her own emphasis of peaceful protests, Fatima feels betrayed by her grandfather. Both Sal, and Salman, who have been on opposing sides of each other that day, are, however, aligned in some sympathy for which F man are a critique of the activism propos ed by Fatima and Ghafur. Activism that may also be proposed by a liberal democracy: forgiveness, diplomacy, and the justice corruption in the Partition era justice system, and asks her to place herself in her
61 post 9/11 context in which the American state did violate civil rights. The activism proposed by Fatima and Ghafur require s a basic trust that the state, and perhaps more importantly, its citizens, will come to respect their voice and act in redressal. Since their activism is incipient, this question can not be adequately answered in this chapter, but it does raise important concerns about the effectiveness of their activism. I will also take up this question in the next chapter when both reactionary violence and civic activism is presented as a response to the Othering of Muslims. For the state, Hakim presents the arrival of incomprehensible, (a confusion that was strongly reflected in early news reports about the attacks), and want to make sense of 9/11 Why would he resort to violence? How does he feel? Does he experience guilt or you have done anything differently? I m hegemonic discourse of respectability and appropriateness, which becomes more apparent in the Bollywood films in the next chapter, Fatima and Ghafur are now the e. If, as Stephen Chan claims ( in analyzing characters like Changez from The Reluctant Fundamentalist ) the Islamic hero has become reduced to a domesticated Other who is too excessively involved in clever to the state, then Hakim presents a significant challenge because he refuses to play by the rules (C han 830). Ali, however, refuses to either completely praise or condemn
62 Hakim. The different reactions of the family e ngender a simultaneous distancing of Hakim, the violent actor, and a rehabilitation of Hakim, the grandfather, now an old man. The actions of the young Hakim draw censure from his family, and it is made clear in which occurs when Hakim, as a grandfather, is positioned in a web of familial relations. In this role, Hakim has the rol e of mediating the conflicts that have occurred during the day between the various family members. Moreover, the older man becomes an anachronistic segment of the Muslim Pakistani American population, more Pakistani than American. story exposes an alignment between Fatima and Ghafur, as activists, and the American state, which they are critical of. Their subject position optation of their subjectivity, and that of citizen activists. They both claim the national space as the site of activism, and intend to work within the framework of the American s tate, institutions, and culture, regardless of t he potential for co optation. violence, for instance, is voiced, both as a rejection of his violence, as well as the retorts with: lo cates herself as an American, interested in agitating in the national space. The trauma
63 of 9/11, for her, is a lived experience, while the metaphor of Partition is ultimately alien. I of claiming their rights in the American state. To recap, briefly, Rajini Srikanth, in The World Next Door: South Asian American Literature and the Idea of America to Asian Americans [and Arab America ns] that their membership within the United World Next Door 54 ). Following the attacks, transn ationality was used by the state as a were implemented because of the belief that immigrants with transnational ties must have split loyalties, and needed to be monitor ed by the state for signs of disloyalty to its jingoistic nationalism. Fatima and Ghafur, in particular, may indeed be participating in refusal to concede their human an d legal rights in the nation. Moreover, the siblings rejection of a transnational history does not necessarily imply a rejection of everyday practices that may be considered transnational, or abandoning a transnational consciousness. They both remain inter ested in furthering the hybridity of the American social fabric through their current and future work, but this activism is firmly rooted in a national, rather than a transnational context.
64 CHAPTER 3 THE ACTIVIST AND THE TERRORIST: REIMAGINING THE NATION STATE IN MY NAME IS KHAN AND NEW YORK Bollywood, the largest industry of popular film in India, has responded to globalization by expanding its cinematic imagination, processes of production, and audience. The most visible aspect of this global imaginary, although not typical of a vast industry, is an elite cosmopolitanism that makes territorial borders permeable. Films are shot in foreign locales that would appeal to a home audience captivated by globe trotting fantasies, the diaspora and temporary migran t in Western or Westernized countries becomes a trope for films even as films travel in transnational circuits, and actors in the industry are invited abroad for music shows, performances, and award ceremonies. Films like My Name is Khan and New York are l ocated in this cosmopolitan ethic but underscore an unsavory side of transnational migration, by exposing the problematic cultural politics which structure the lives of Indian im/migrants, specifically Indian Muslims in a post 9/11 United States. The films can also be seen as subversive, because it enables a simultaneous albeit displaced, critique of India. Although the films are located in the American context, and explore the complexities of South Asian Muslim life after 9/11 in the United States, the films are also political situation regarding Muslims. Both films emphasize the subaltern perspective, an important foregrounding given the marginalization and demonization of Muslims in contemporary Hollywood and Bollywood films. As I have already noted in the Introduction, both films run counter to the historical marginalization of Muslims in Hollywood and Bollywood films, and I want to emphasize co discourse. Both films articulate normative views on citizenship and belonging. By
65 as defined by a hegemonic nation state, and citizens than The Domestic Crusaders and The Reluctant Fundamentalist these films are invested in furthering the good/bad Muslim dichotomy on hegemonic terms within the 1 American empire. Certainly, as popular culture products, the se films are open to being co tendency long marginalization of Muslims on screen. In essence, I p ropose locating the normative structures in the film in the socio political context within which the film operates, and reading its normative acts against the grain. In keeping with the theme of my project, I explore how these films produce minority nation alism via civic activism. By becoming activists, South Asian Muslim subjects stake a claim to the national space from which they have bee n evicted. Activism in this case is a normative act, in the sense that it suggests that an alliance with the regulator y neoliberal state is essential for minority rights, and posits the nation state as a site of belonging. Although they are normative, these acts can also be productive for Muslim subjects because they introduce alterity in s cultural and legal memory. Contrary to the normative act of civic activism, the threat of radicalism and terrorism also presents a counter possibility in the agitation for minority rights. I believe, as Sumita Chakravarty does, that a counternormative re ading of the terrorist Muslim citizen allows terrorism to be read as a minority nationalism that draws attention to problems in the nation state, in this case, in the United States, and by proxy, in India 1 political context, and advise Muslims in India on appropriate behavior too (Vijay Mishra 268).
66 (242). In relation to her study of three Mani Ratna m terrorist films ( Roja Bombay and Dil Se ultrachauvinistic to the more traditional strivings for a de signated nation She later conclud es her analysis by noting that terrorism is also a means of interrogation of national ideals gone awry, and of evoking the faces and voices of the estranged who must be brought back into the cultural mainstre national context, he does conceive of religion as a form of politics, and argues that Chakravarty and Jameson, terrorism can then be read as an excess, which t hreatens hegemonic conceptualizing of the nation state, nationalism, and citizenship. Fundamentalism or radicalism, as a political act, also enables the conceptualizing of transnational consciousness. Even when the act occurs within the confines of a terri torial state, its origins and implications are global, and it is driven by this very understanding that borders are porous and liminal. For my project, it is important to place a radical act of nationalism within a transnational network because the subject s engaging in these acts have cross cultural linkages. These cross cultural and transnational linkages are also important given the para context of the films production and reception. Both films were major productions, and My Name is Khan particularly enj oyed substantial commercial success, especially
67 outside India. My Name is Khan was released in 2010 and involved three popular Bollywood figures the director, Karan Kohar, and the actors Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. The trio has produced successful films i n the past, and the film was highly anticipated for reuniting Khan and Kajol, a popular lead pairing. The film was shot in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and several locations in India. In uncanny echoes of the film, Khan was also the center of controversies in a different regard. In 2010, after he Premier League, an international cricket series held in India, Hindu nationalists threated violence if My Name is Khan was released in theatres Khan was called insensitive and raised questions about his national loyalties. Later, more controversies surrounded his trips to the United States for shooting and promoting the film when he was selected for extra screening due to his racial features and name. This racially charged incident sparked a furore in India when i t was reported by the Indian media. These incidents have uncanny parallels with the film, in which Rizwan (the character played by Khan) is pulled aside for extra screening at an airport due to his features. The film installs 9/11 as a split in the lives o f South Asian Muslims living in the moment of paranoia. The film is narrated in ret rospect by Rizwan, and begins in India with a brief introduction to the childhood of Rizwan Khan, who lives in Mumbai with his mother and a younger brother. Rizwan has Asperger Syndrome, and this is the basis for the early alienation he faces. Even when he moves to the U.S., as an adult sponsored for American citizenship
68 by his successful brother, religion or r ace are not linked to the misunderstandings which interact with him, particularly when he becomes a salesman for beauty products and is forced to interact with people. This e arly America is a racial and religious utopia in which even inter religious marriage can be a possibility. (This is a possibility which the film forecloses for India early in the film, a short scene depicts religious strife in the community in which Rizw love with Mandira, a much loved hair dresser, and a single mother with a young son, she has been in the United States for a long time, after she was abandoned by her first husband. Just prior to the 9/11 attacks, Mandira and Rizwan wed, and move to a small (fictional) town called Banville where Mandira opens her own hair salon. The melodramatic romance turns into a tragedy when 9/11 unfolds. In the suddenly changed finally, in a racially charged episode, the young Sameer is killed by a white gang of school bullies who believe he is Muslim because of his racial features and last name. In this last instance, the film plays lives up to its Bollywood tag and exploits the pathos of and in a f it of grief, asks him to leave her and not return till he has given the following message to the President of the United States: My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist. Rizwan believes that Mandira speaks earnestly, and the plot, now narrated in chronol
69 Of the two films, My Name is Khan is more explicitly invested in deconstructing the negative stereotypes of Muslims set up after 9/11. While New York introduces a domestic Muslim terro rist, it concludes on a highly normative note which supports hegemonic ideology. The film was released in 2009, and stars several prominent Bollywood actors. John Abraham and Katrina Kaif play the roles of the lead Indian Americans, Samir and Maya, college students who become friends with Omar (played by Neil Mukesh), a young Indian student newly arrived from India. Their close friendship unravels after 9/11 as Maya and Samir are drawn together in a romantic relationship to e story is recollected in flashbacks by Omar, now held for interrogation by the FBI after arms are discovered in a cab he owns. During his interrogation, he comes to the conclusion that the arms were planted by the FBI so that he could be forced to re esta blish a relationship with Maya and Samir (who are now married, and have a son), and spy on Samir, now believed to be a terrorist. Frightened by the prospect of being held without trail, Omar agrees to collude with FBI agent, Roshan, (played by Irrfan Khan) another Muslim American of South Asian descent, in uncovering the truth. During his stay with Samir and Maya, Omar learns that Samir Maya to become an activist. She now wor ks with other Muslims who were held without evidence of guilt to record their experiences which can then be used in a law suit leanings. Traumatized by his detention, he ha s cultivated a network of domestic terrorists who plan to detonate a bomb in the FBI building. The climax of the film involves a tense standoff as Omar and Maya attempt to convince Samir to call off his
70 plans, as he sta nds poised to trigger the bombs and c death by sniper fire. Both films were well received in India and were screened at several international film festivals. My Name is Khan for instance, was selected for an official screening at the 60 th Berlin Film Festival an d eventually released in over 20 countries. It performed very well at the box office internationally, especially in the first 7 10 days after release. In the Middle East and countries as wide ranging as South Africa and Denmark, the film was reputed to hav e become the most successful Bollywood film in the first week of release (Business of Cinema). In India, the film is one of the top ten high grossing Bollywood films of all time (Box Office India). Although New York was not as commercially successful as My Name is Khan and was released in fewer international theatres, it was the first commercial Bollywood film to address the issue of Muslim Othering in the post 9/11 world. The transnational networks that the films travelled in (in terms of production in In dia, as well as reception abroad) reflects international awareness about Muslim Othering in the United States. The Origin of the Terrorist Citizen after 9/11 consolidated a Middle Eastern, Arab, or Muslim] are identified as terrorists, and are disindentified as measures such as detention s, special registration, and interviews, which indicate that citizenship does not confer civil rights. Volpp argues that these groups are not, in fact, considered citizens at all, if citizenship is considered as a form of identity that is interpellated (15 92). By way of
71 against whom other citizens define their affiliation to the nation state (Al thusser in Volpp, 1593). After 9/11, American identity was defined against these individuals, Muslims, Arabs, and those who resembled these groups. These groups came under suspicion for having divided loyalties. ins how Othering was used as a tool to disidentify Muslim Americans from their national identify. Along similar lines, Kandace Chuh identifies a second strategy of disidentification: transnationalism. Chuh writes that during World War II, the foregrounding served to deemphasize their national belonging (Chuh in World Next Door 54 ). Again, such a strategy casts aspersions on the loyalty and belonging of citizens, and in the case of Japanese Americans, it helped jus important because it indicates that the hegemonic state plays an active role in producing and naturalizing the citizen as terrorist type, so that specific groups can then be regulated and brought under state contro l. One of the consequences of this naturalizing is the 2 reproduction of that type in society such that citizens begin to eventually enforce it on the suspected minorities too. The Introduction had already documented the various measures which encouraged r acial profiling and helped consolidate the view of Muslims as terrorists. Among other measures, Arabs, Muslims or citizens of specific Muslim countries were detained, required to register in national databases, and interviewed (Immigration Policy Center 3) Muslim Americans too were affected by the atmosphere of suspicion. 2 Hate crimes against Muslim Americans showed a dramatic increase after 9/11.
72 Numerous incidents report men who were racially typed as Muslim being asked to deplane from a flight because passengers and crew were suspicious of the men. These kinds of Othering, and d isidentifications, are highlighted in My Name is Khan and New York In the post 9/11 milieu, a gendered and racialized Othering occurs so that Rizwan ( My Name is Khan ) and Omar and Sameer ( New York ) become interpellated as Muslims. This is a change that oc curs post 9/11. Moreover, a key part of the My Name Is Khan plot revolves around misrecognition, when South Asians are taken for Muslims and suffer the effects of this association. The Othering and misrecognition has fatal consequences in the context of th The Reluctant Fundamentalist or The Domestic Crusaders In My Name Is Khan the community turns a suspicious eye on the Khan family immediately after 9/11, at a prayer ceremony for the victims of the attacks. When Rizwan Khan begins praying in Arabic in the white, Christian dominated ceremony, the atmosphere turns hostile. The community at the service looks surprised when Rizwan attempts to donate a substantial sum to a fund set up for those affected by the attacks and Mandira has to interject and name) are affected further though. In the new socio forced to close because it has a Muslim nam e and the community is unwilling to give it marriage is killed by a white gang of school bullies. The young boy has been taunted before by the bullies who believe that he is Muslim because of his racial features and last name. When he finally responds to their bullying, he is physically abused and
73 fall apart as Mandira blames Rizwan for her so This high watermark in the film is emotionally saturated, not an 3 unusual characteristic of a Bollywood film to evoke empathy and alignment with the suffering of protagonists. The viewer is rendered a helpless spectator and witness to the child subjects. If children stand for the future of a community, then this death symbolize s the ultimate threat the empire can make to the community, an end to lineage and future. murder, enacted at the hands of other children, but instigated and supported by a later in my analysis of New York In New York too, the Othering takes a violent form that leaves physical and film is particularly focused on the judiciary and law enforcement arms of the government. The film opens with the arrest of Omar, who is now a taxi driver in New York, a few years after 9/11. During his interrogatio n by Roshan, a Muslim American FBI agent Omar comes to the conclusion that the FBI had planted the weapons in his taxi so they could arrest him on the charge of illegal weapons possession. He is summarily rejected access to a lawyer, held in detention, and threatened by Roshan with indeterminat e detention in an unknown location. These extra legal actions, while not entirely grounded in reality, are given some credence by 3 Again, this deployment of a filmic style common to Bollywood indicates that these films are working within conventional structures and narratives.
7 4 the experience of detainees following the passage of the PATRIOT Act. The FBI, given form by Roshan and his white supervisor, want Omar to re establish contact with Maya and Sameer so he can spy on Samir, now suspected of terrorism related activities. Roshan justifies his work with the FBI as an attempt to work within a government structure to change the government policies and a ttitude towards Muslims. He also expresses his disgust of Muslims who use the Quran to promote terrorism, and believes Samir to be one of these Muslims. Omar, coerced by the possibility of detention and During his stay with Maya and Samir, now married and parents to a young son, he discovers that Samir has experienced the effects of Othering too. In the tense months after 9/11, Samir, still a college student, is arrested while he is waiting to board a flight at an American airport, and tortured and detained for nine months. His arrest is based on inconsequential evidence high resolution photos of key NYC buildings taken as a part of an Architecture class are construed as evidence o f his terrorist leanings. The film depicts an extended sequence of the various forms of violence and degradations that Samir experiences including, but not limited to, naked confinement to a cold and small boxed cell, acoustic and visual torture, and hum iliation by prison guards who force him to wear a urine saturated burlap sack on his face. Panning camera shots also show that other South Asian men are locked into nearby cells and may have been similarly tortured. Although he is an American citizen, he i s not accorded his legal rights and finally released due to inconclusive evidence. Although the mainland detention facilities. For instance, a Department of Justice report found that
75 some detainees were denied legal rights, and there were instances of abuse at these facilities (5).After his release, Samir shows s ymptoms of PTSD and is unable to handle everyday life situations. He also has a hard time finding a job, both due to his racial features as well as the extended detention which makes potential employees suspicious. Claiming the Nation The protagonists in these films take different paths in response to Othering, but three trends emerge in their responses: civic activism, wo rking through state institutions and radicalism. The first is characterized by efforts to seek legal recourse against or after Othering, volunteer work in other minority communities, and spreading awareness about Muslim life after 9/11. The second, which crops up mainly in New York involves working through state institutions to effect change. In New York this response is embodied by Roshan, a South Asian American FBI agent, and Omar, who agrees to become a government informant. The last takes the form of violent anti systemic actions normativity, then the dichotomized and hegemonic conceptions of good and bad citizen behaviours will be foregrounded at this point. In such a reading, My Name is Khan emerges as highly normative film because it not only denounces violent reactionary work, but also presents a socially acceptable civic alternative instead. Such a reading also presumes that activism is necessarily 4 implicated in th e hegemonic structure of the state and ultimately fails to affect and alter that structure. While such a critique should 4 Such a reading is ironic given that Muslim activists were often construed as terrorists or anti American by the state.
76 not be discounted, it should also not foreclose the possibility that civic activism and working within the neo liberal state can impact the system. Moreover, a critique of normativity assumes a certain privilege which may not be available to minorities who are already on the margins of society. For instance, undocumented Muslim or Arab immigrants were one of the most vulnerable groups af ter 9/11 and the implementation of several policie s stemming from the PATRIOT Act (Immigration Policy Center 8, 18) Many of these immigrants were eventually deported on non terrorism related charges. Charging such groups with desiring or upholding normati ve structures of citizenship and belonging does not account for their vulnerable position. Finally, it is important to take into account that in the light of historical marginalization and demonization of Muslims in cinema, (and the impact of these depicti ons on social prejudice), these portrayals of good, albeit normative, Muslim citizens is a socially important turn. In this section of the chapter, I examine the three responses I outlined above and discuss how they constitute a minority nationalism. I arg ue that all three responses are a way of claiming the national space, and expressing belonging to the nation state which has Othered them. By staking such a claim, the subaltern subject refuses to cede his or her belonging and citizenship. My analysis exam ines how these nationalistic impulses might be co opted by the state as well as their potential to challenge the empire. Although certain forms of nationalism have been roundly criticized, there has been a resurgence in studying models of contemporary nati onalisms in light of new nationalist movements (Chakravarty 242, Lazarus 68). Lazarus observes that this
77 Calling such a view hy, irrationality, and power t national liberation struggl e to a wider struggle for socialism (79, 242). Other scholars have similarly spoken of the possibilities political and civil, not to say human, rights, of democracy and of cultural expression and nationalism, but without any political aspirations to a separate nation state. Despite its racialized politics, the nation space also appears to be cond ucive to fostering solidarity and alliances between minorities. Pheng Cheah, for instance, questions whether there is a basis for solidarity and consciousness in cosmopolitanism on the other hand For such solidarity to come into being, subjects must firs t locate facets of identity. Cheah further asks whether such a popular global consciousness, feasible political alternative to the nation project, this concluding section of my project indicates that the capacity of the nation space to foster dialogue and consciousness should not be undere stimated. The protagonists in these works are nationalists in the sense that they voluntarily express a
78 specific national identity, and assert their human rights and state granted rights as minorities who were denied certain rights by the hegemonic majorit y. These films disrupt, too, the idea that nationalism in the Western context is a finished project, and indicate that racial and ethnic groups can form transnational linkages within the scope of their nationalist project (in the sense that these films add ress and align the socio political goals of Muslims living in India and the United States). In the next few pages I discuss how the protagonists of these films take up different forms of activism to express their national belonging. Given the legal underp it is not surprising that judicial activism has drawn so many activists and scholars. Judicial activists and scholars were particularly critical of what was perceived as the violation of human r ights, and suspension of civil rights as result of various state actions. Although t hese policies were not as brazen as those which coerced Japanese American internees to renounce their citizenship, they do force the acknowledgement that not all citizens, or even individuals, have the same rights under the nation state. Given these violations of state and international law, community organizations, activists, and lawyers were drawn to represent detainees, and other subalterns caught in the dragnet of Americ an policy. Rajini Srikanth, for example, discusses the role of civilian lawyers representing detainees held in Guantanamo Bay. Srikanth admits that although activists and lawyers who engage in 5 capacit 5 She also acknowledges that shortcomings of such activism: allowing personhood and subjectivity to be defined as per law, asymmetrical power relations between the lawyer and detainee, and personal and atavisti c motivations of lawyers (144).
79 project is important because it is fundamentally one of empathy for the marginalized and demonized Other (144). In New York in le gal activism and begins working on cases filed by 9/11 detainees who were inappropriately detained. A sub plot in the film involves her work on documenting the detention experiences of an Afghani detainee, Zilgai, who also suffered torture at the hands of his American captors and experiences PTSD too. consequences of its transgression of law. At one point in the film, when Maya and Zilgai with Omar in attendance, Omar, and by extension, the viewer is placed in the role of a witness. Although the viewer does not prominently foregrounded. Since, as Srikanth observes, legal language can obscure an the lawyer or activist before a case is made in court (Srikanth 146). Thus, the language and overall scene is raw with emotion, and the viewer can not deny the personhood of the detainee. Since civic and human rights are conferred based on personhood (rather than the supposed guilt of an individual), this is a powerful conclusion for the viewer to draw because it implicates him or her in the socio political circumstances which enabled detention. In another example of judicial activism in My Name is Khan Mandira too advocates within the framework of the legal and law enforcement system to find her the police to keep the case op en. Her efforts directly impact the community because
80 prejudice. Such awareness rais My Name is Khan not return till he has given the following message to the President of the United States: My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist earnestly and to fulfill her request believing that i t is possible to meet the President, incapable of hostility, and bewildered by malice. 6 stubbornness, and he emerges as a child hero. En route, he motivates other Muslims to become volunteers communities he encounters. There are encounters with government institutions: a long security check by TSA agents at an airport when he is singled out because of his h, because of repetitive behavior racial features), and a misinformed arrest at a rally for President Bush. This arrest is followed by sensory torture, and he is finally released when his story is picked up by the minority media. While his long journey itself is an activist act, as it brings awareness to his cause, another sub plot point shows his community service in a hurricane 7 hit black community in Georgia. At a pivotal moment, when it appears that the community is 6 This child like view of oppression can either be read as an indictment of oppression, or an indication of the normative structure of the film which forecloses a more critical examination of the socio political context of o ppression. 7 The film may be critiqued for its stereotypical depiction of black community and accused of showing up Muslims at the expense of another minority group.
81 going to fa ce imminent destruction, scores of Muslims arrive with food and aid, inspired communities and hegemonic institutions to witness a peaceful Muslim citizen. erism, although regrettably short sighted because it wrongly indicates that Muslims have not been community volunteers, is intended as an example for fellow Muslims on appropriate civic behavior At this point, I want to acknowledge and discuss the normati ve framework of the film, within which the shortsightedness of Muslim activism plays out. As I noted earlier, this normative framework does not discount the potential of the film, but it is important to consider how such a framework forecloses perspective and action. Two other moments in the film produce, more strongly, dichotomized categories of good and bad Muslim citizens: a run in with a radical Imam whom Rizwan reports to the FBI, and a near death encounter when a radical Muslim attempts to kill him fo r reporting the Imam. Rizwan meets the Imam when he visits a mosque to pray. As he is praying, he overhears the Imam and a small group of followers interpreting the Quran to justify violence. After struggling to contain himself, Rizwan repeats the message of non violence that his mother had taught him and rushes out of the mosque. Then driven by a sense of civic duty, he calls law enforcement to report the Imam. This scene is perhaps one of the most prescriptive in the film. It instructs citizens on how to respond to fundamentalism first, denounce it by speaking up against it, and and a good citizen because it is precisely what the American state had asked of Muslim s living in America post 9/11. (Sahar Aziz is one of many scholars to write about
82 how the state actively sought informants embedded in Muslim communities. Subjects who refused to serve as informants were occasionally threatened with deportation. ) To furth violent activism and the unreasonable violence of the fundamentalists, a crucial plot point unfolds when a follower of the Imam attacks Rizwan with a knife and grievously injures him for reporting the Imam, and apparen tly, betraying Islam. These two characters, the Imam and his follower, are foils is set to counteract. Without condoning fundamentalist violence, it is important to n ote why these violent characters are problematic. First, the film draws attention to the mosque as a space that fosters fundamentalism, a gross generalization because this is the only ame stereotypes (i.e., the violent Islamic fundamentalist) in order to dispel them. Moreover, these violent civilization rhetoric. The film allows the reader to misread these characters in the same way that the Al picture of the conflict would have to analyze the economic and po litical motives of the Al Qaeda and engage with the complex history which once saw the Al Qaeda and the United States aligned in Afghanistan. The 9/11 attacks, in this line of thinking, were a statement about the imperialistic, economic, and military actio ns of the American state. In the film, however, the violent fundamentalists are not allowed to make this critique. Neither can this critique of the American empire be articulated by Rizwan, who remains
83 locked in a state of childlike innocence and in compreh ension. His inability to grasp the geopolitical and sociocultural reasons for his own Othering forecloses the possibility of a critique. Through his character then, the film invites Muslims to close their critique of the United States, and instead, to trus engages in reproducing hegemony. I am not suggesting that the film is not conscious of the social realities post 9/11. the film is itself invested in a critique of American society and bureaucracy. However, in an attempt to find a plot resolution, the film ultimately situates the state as a site of remedial action in an idealized manner In a climactic moment, the newly elected communicate his message and reconcile with his wife. In this last instant, the film makes a political statement that there will be a change in the situation for Musl ims because of the election of a new President who is willing to hear what Muslims have to say. In response to this idealistic belief, I want to first return to minority nationalism, and later pose New York in conversation with this conclusion. To deny th e possibility that the state is a site of remedial action goes against the grain of other minority experience, and the slow, but improving civil rights gains in the United States. Although this continues to be an on going project, the state has worked with black civil rights leaders. Certainly, it is possible to critique the means of bringing about this change, but this critique should not foreclose the state as a site for change. Further, to deny the state as the space for change leaves the subaltern subje ct in a difficult position. Where
84 else can this subject claim remedy? International courts might be more amenable to consider human rights violations, and international spaces might bring the more awareness. But, access to these international sites require s resources and privilege that may not be available to individuals who have already been Othered. Moreov er, geopolitical realities may limit the potential of international censure of American policies. ire to work within a national belonging to the American nation, and a belief that the social fabric can be altered, and the subject will not cease work to hybridize it. Where e lse would an American citizen seek redress against regressive American policies, if not in an American court and before fellow citizens? As Chakravarty observed, such nationalist impulses reveal fractures in the state which need to be addressed for the st other two forms of responses are particularly effective in drawing attention to how the state has been compromised (242). The second form of activism, working with the neoliberal state is a form of witnessin g in as much as it allows the Muslim citizen to demonstrate his loyalty to the state by working with the state. In New York Omar, as I noted before, agrees to help the FBI, because he believes this is the only way to are explored at some depth in the film and initially indicate his ambiguity in working for the FBI. He is aware of the trigger happy and xenophobic nature of his white supervisor, who comes to represent the bellicose form of the American empire. He also st ates to his supervisor that his role in the FBI is defined by his newly racialized identity he is valuable because he can serve as an
85 insider to the Muslim community. When his supervisor complains about this thick accent, he retorts that the accent symbo lizes just his value to the FBI. However, he also genuinely believes that he can improve the conditions of Muslims in America by weeding out extremists. Among the three forms of activism, this form is the most co opted and misused by the imperial center. T o highlight this last point, I will discuss it in relation to militancy in the film. New York highlights the extremist reaction to Othering: Samir has, indeed, embraced radicalism as a result of the trauma of detention and his ensuing PTSD. He has come to belief that a violent act against a government structure is the only manner to recoup his dignity and shatter the hegemony of the empire. New York read at a surface level, and along the dichotomized Muslim identities, it reveals minority nationalism that is co opted into the hegemonic discourse. However, reading it against The terrorist citizen in this film, one of its central protagonists, embraces violence after his extended detention and torture in an American detention facility. Alt hough the state machinery consider s Samir an Islamic fundamentalist, he is not using violence for religious purposes. As he tells Oma r, he became violent as a result of his detention. Samir is the terrorist that the American state feared after 9/11 a law abiding and model citizen in every other right, an educated entrepreneur living in a suburban America with a wife and young son. His life epitomizes the American Dream, except for the fact of his Othering. J. David Slocum, in his Introduction to Terrorism, Media, and Liberation points citizen (
86 S tates, or renounce his citizenship. marking citizens as terrorists. Having been stripped of his human rights and dignity, Samir decides to act against the state he plans an attack on a state edifice, an FBI attack a symbol of the American state, he does not use any religious rhetoric to justify his actions. Moreover, he believes the FBI building is a justified target (in contrast to a public space such as a market) because there are no innocent civilians there. The attacks are meant to cripple an agency that was responsible (he believes) for his torture, and that of other Muslim Americans His plans are supported by a local network suspicion about the involvement of Muslim youth in domestic terrorism after 9/11, but firmly implicates the state in that radicali zation, and invites the viewer to witness the transformation of the innocent subject. This is responsibility that the state refuses, by Roshan for withholding this informat ion from him and holds the state responsible for because this would implicate him too as an agent of the state. Instead he justifies his actions as that of a concerned M uslim citizen by noting the opportunities afforded him as an American, and speaking against Muslims who sully Islam. This exchange hints at
87 attempt to resolve this radicalization. In a tense standoff between these opposing camps on the rooftop of the FBI building, Samir is poised to trigger the planted bombs. Behind him, Maya and Omar operation) attempt to dissuade him. Befo re him, snipers are seen his men to shoot Samir. In a gory spectacle of death, his bo dy is shown pierced by multiple bullets, and behind him, Maya is killed too. Roshan saves Omar by pulling him climax, Maya and Omar have attempted to reason with the agents th at Samir must not be killed but rather captured and subjected to the due process of law. If this condition is agreed upon, they are willing to speak with Samir to dissuade him. Roshan seems to agree with them, but the other agent remains ambivalent. His ac tions later are thus, not entirely unexpected, and indeed, they are anticipated by Samir. When Maya promises him legal representation, while they are on the rooftop, he scoffs at her. Thus, the America that enjoys popular support. In the aftermath of the shooting, he is feted for his role in preventing a terrorist attack. The unfolding of these events leads the viewer to see the American state in a critical light: its short sighted policies viol ate human rights and encourage radicalization, then the state refuses to acknowledge its role in this radicalization, and finally believes that death, rather than reconciliation and remediation, are the only solutions to radicalization. Moreover, the overd one measures kill not only the terrorist, but also a
88 peaceful legal activist. This silencing indicates then that the empire is unwilling to brook draws attention to the ill conceived policies and working of the state with regard to Muslims, and the Muslim world. Finally, the impact of the detentions on family structure is seen dramatically in this film. First, the fabric of the Muslim family is unraveled but even tually (in this case), the empire destroys the family unit itself. Despite this forthright critique, the film concludes with an assimilationist turn, and I present a counter reading of the conclusion to offset this assimilationist turn. In a closing seque baseball game while Omar, now his adoptive parent, watches on Omar is joined by Roshan, and in the course of their conversation it is revealed that Omar had stopped communicating with R to demonstrate why the events were important. At that moment, camera shows the asking Roshan to join them for a meal, and Omar reluctant, but acquiescent to the request and implied rec onciliation. In these scenes, Roshan finally becomes a synecdoche for the state. His continued support of the state, and apparent resolution of guilt has made him a perfect and insidious insider/informer with regard to the Muslim community. He is capable of of the state. To understand how completely he is now aligned with the state, it is
89 ast] was worth it which has successfully de racialized the young Asian American boy. The death of the parents has removed two apparently damaging influences on the boy, and society, in general: the activist citizen, and the terrorist citizen. Their death has also removed their the appropriateness or effectiveness of their methods (i.e. activism terrorism), but the importance of their cause cannot be understated given the disastrous American domestic and foreign policies regarding Muslims and Muslim nations. Their deaths disconnects the child (and by extension, the community) from his lineage, a nd from developing their subversive tendencies. Instead, he is left in the care of the more tractable character, Omar, who has been willing to work with the state. Indeed, their cause is now cast as anachronistic in this new America which was ushered in by the deaths. Thus, Roshan extolls the virtues of a nation which will allow a Muslim Asian American boy, whose father was a terrorist, to participate so fully in society. This apparent benevolence of the state, stated without any irony, is the last chilling reminder of what a
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95 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Dhanashree Thorat is a m aster s student in the Department of English, University of Florida. She specializes in Postcolonial Studies, New Media Stud ies, and the Digital Humanities. She has also been a teaching assistant at the University of Florida since Fall 2011. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors at Kennesaw State University in Spring 2011, and graduated with two minors, Peace St udies, and Writing. She is currently working with an institute in India to develop Digital Humanities initiatives leading to the establishment of a Di gital Humanities Center