20 October 2021 - 20 October 2021
4:00PM - 5:00PM
Guest Speaker Dr Sita Balani, Lecturer in Contemporary Literature and Culture, King’s College London
Nationalism and the figure of the 'Jihadi bride'
The dichotomy of the Muslim woman as innocent victim and the Muslim man as dangerous perpetrator retains a powerful hold within the national imaginary. Yet through the structuring meta-logic of race, the conception of Muslim men as sexually dysfunctional, predatory, and violent can be refashioned and applied to Muslim women. Following the presence of women amongst the rising numbers of young people from the West opting to join Islamic State, young Muslim women have been seen with a renewed suspicion as a unique threat to the nation. They are seen to embody a duplicitous femininity, formerly ascribed to Asian women trying to join their fiancés in the UK, now recalibrated through the threat of terrorism. In this talk, I’ll consider these issues through the BBC drama The Bodyguard (2018), which stages this shift from the Muslim wife as victim, in need of saving by a white, British patriarch, to the Muslim woman as violent Jihadi, a threat to the patriarchal order of the British nation. Crucially, this shift depends on the right-wing conspiratorial premise that the image of the Muslim woman as passive victim is part of a liberal conspiracy that enables dangerous racial others to evade the nation state's grasp.
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Image by Aude Van Ryn