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Writing Islam: representations of Muhammad, the Qur'an and Islamic belief and the construction of Muslim identity in early modern Britain

Jenkins, Ian 2007. Writing Islam: representations of Muhammad, the Qur'an and Islamic belief and the construction of Muslim identity in early modern Britain. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This thesis investigates the representations of Islam and of Muslims in English writing during the early modern period, with particular focus on the influence of the contents of the sub-genre of the polemic biography of Muhammad as a template for the construction of these representations. I will argue that the distorted representations of the figure of Muhammad contained in these biographies functioned as a prototype for the production of a series of essentialising views of Muslim identity which were then replicated throughout the textual production on Islam during the period. The study identifies the recurring themes of deception, gender and sexuality, and violence in the representations of Muhammad contained in the polemic biographies and then seeks to trace the recurrence of these thematic areas in the wider body of textual production on Islam during the period, with the aim of identifying the contents of the polemic biographies as a hermeneutical tool in the interpretation of Islam and Muslims. In examining the influence of the polemic biographies of Muhammad in the construction of Muslim identities in early modern English writing the thesis analyses examples of these biographies which occur in texts from in a wide variety of generic backgrounds over hundreds of years, including religious tracts, histories and travelers' accounts of the 'Islamic world' and will then examine the echoes of these thematic areas of representation contained in the polemic biographies in other areas of literary production, and in particular within the series of 'Turk plays' produced on the early modern stage. This thesis also examines the availability of materials on Islam in Britain during the early modern period and investigates the series of ideological and theological positions which informed the approaches to the subject of Islam in English texts. There are also six appendices which deal in more detail with issues important to the overall thesis, a discussion of which, in the main body of the work, would have interrupted the argument. The reader is referred to these when relevant.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
ISBN: 9781303209963
Funders: AHRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2014 15:20

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