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Muslim Indian Women Writing in English

Class Privilege, Gender Disadvantage, Minority Status

Elizabeth Jackson

In Muslim Indian Women Writing in English: Class Privilege, Gender Disadvantage, Minority Status, Dr. Elizabeth Jackson conducts a study of the literary fiction of the four best-known Muslim Indian women writing in English during the postcolonial period: Attia Hosain (1913–1998), Zeenuth Futehally (1904–1992), Shama Futehally (no relation, 1952–2004), and Samina Ali (b. 1969). As elite Muslim women in India, the literary vision of these authors is influenced by their paradoxical position of class privilege, gender disadvantage, and minority status. Accordingly, there are recurring thematic concerns central to the fiction of all four writers, each of which forms a chapter in the book: "Religion and Communal Identity," "Marriage and Sexuality," "Gender and Social Class," and "Responding to Patriarchy." The first chapter, "Form and Narrative Strategy," provides an initial framework by examining the literary techniques of each writer.

Much has been written about literature in English by Indian women, about Muslim literature in general, about the Muslim minority in India, and about Muslim women all over the world. However, until now there has been no major academic study of literature in English by Muslim Indian women. Aimed at researchers, students, and general readers, this book aims to fill that gap in the critical scholarship.

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I am deeply grateful to the people and institutions that made this book possible. They include my past and present students and colleagues at the University of the West Indies, who constantly inspire me with fresh ideas and perspectives. I have benefited from any number of illuminating conversations inside and outside of lectures, tutorials, seminars, and conferences. In terms of discussion of ideas and practical advice about this book, I am particularly grateful to my colleagues in Trinidad, including Savrina Chinien, Maarit Forde, Gabriel Hezekiah, David Mastey, Paula Morgan, Louis Regis, and Godfrey Steele, as well as my dear friend in London, Ayesha Ibrahim. Thanks are also due to the University of the West Indies for a semester of study leave to go abroad and complete my book, and particularly to Jeremy DeLisle for supporting my application for a grant through the Campus Research and Publication Fund. My semester in London was made more enjoyable and more productive by Lawrence Scott and Jenny Green, whose generous hospitality enabled easy access to the British Library, as well as by other friends and family members who provided encouragement and at times much-needed distraction from my book.←ix | x→

I gratefully acknowledge Palgrave Macmillan for permission to incorporate a section of reworked contextual material from my previously published book Feminism and Contemporary Indian Women’s Writing (2010), as well as Sage Publications for permission to incorporate reworked material from my three previously published articles:

• “Gender and Social Class...

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