David N. Coury - Kafka and the Quran: Patriotism, Culture, and Post-national Identity
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DAVID N. COURY
Kafka and the Quran: Patriotism, Culture, and Post-national Identity
‘Wer ist wir?’ [Who is we?] This question, the title of Navid Kermani’s 2009 essay collection on Germany and its Muslims, considers the contested notion of identity in twenty-first-century Germany.1 Few issues have been as controversial in Europe over the past decade as the question of cultural identity in a globalized, post-national Europe. From the expansion of the European Union to increased immigration and what groups on the right increasingly perceive as the ‘Islamization’ of Europe, the question ‘Who is we?’2 gets to the heart of the debates over the integration and commensurability of cultures. Kermani’s essays seek not only to break down the dichotomy between ‘us’ and ‘them’, but also to argue for a cosmopolitanism rooted in a shared cultural and literary heritage between the Eastern and Western traditions. This chapter will explore Kermani’s writings on the commensurability of Islam and the West and in particular focus on his literary influences and how his conception of a common cultural identity inevitably informs his understanding of inclusive belonging in contemporary Germany and Europe. ← 49 | 50 →
On the occasion of the award of the Heinrich von Kleist prize to Kermani in 2012, then-Bundestag president Norbert Lammert proclaimed in his eulogy that Kermani is ‘an avowed Muslim as well as an avowed fan of [the soccer club] 1. FC Cologne; both may polarize people from time to time, and...
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