Seminário aberto

Excepcionalism as Fundamentalism: The post-9/11 decade in 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'  (2007-2012)

Ana Cristina Mendes (Centro de Estudos Anglísticos da Univ. Lisboa-CEAUL)

10 de janeiro de 2014, 17h00

Sala de Seminário do IENA (6º piso), Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra


Foreign Policy magazine has recently named the Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers for 2013 “[f]or painting a disquieting picture of Asia’s rise." While this nomination was occasioned by the publication of How to Become Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013), earlier novels likewise show Hamid to be “a master critic of the modern global condition.” The novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), moving between Lahore and New York, has fed our need to understand the harrowing events of 9/11, a transnational lieux de mémoire, as Astrid Erll notes (2010: 2). Because of this, it has been frequently used as required reading in university courses on 9/11 since its publication. The Indian filmmaker Mira Nair co-optioned the film rights to the novel, and a political thriller drama film, inspired by the 2007 novel, was released in 2012. With a script by Hamid and Ami Boghani, written over a period of nearly three years, this adaptation joins blockbusters such as Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center (2006) and Paul Greengrass’s United 93 (2006) in the construction of a traumatized global collective after September 11.

To what extent does the 2012 filmic text, co-authored by the filmmaker, novelist and scriptwriters, both reflect and shape the historical moment we now inhabit, one of a permanent state of emergency characterized by sanctioned US militarism, intelligence units and racial profiling? One of the purposes of this paper is to analyze the development of Hamid’s stance on 9/11 and its aftermath from 2007 to 2012, based on his “source” text The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the collaborative script of the adaptation, interviews occasioned by the film’s release and also various op-ed pieces. As Nair’s adaptation is sure to be a staple of university courses on 9/11, in the same way that Hamid’s novel belongs to the canon of post-9/11 fiction, this paper relatedly aims to assess the ways in which the emergence of university courses on 9/11, which are the result of students’ demand since 2002 (particularly in the US), partakes of a culture of commemoration and politicized memorialization of 9/11.

Nota biográfica

Ana Cristina Mendes licenciou-se em Línguas e Literaturas Modernas pela FLUC e tem um Mestrado em Estudos Anglísticos (Cultura Inglesa) pela FLUL, com a dissertação "O Passado em Exibição: Leituras da Época Vitoriana em The French Lieutenant's Woman e Possession pela qual recebeu o Prémio deEnsaio Literário Fernando de Mello Moser Edições Cosmos/ APEAA. Em 2011 terminou o seu Doutoramento em Estudos de Cultura (Cultura Inglesa), na FLUL, com a tese "'A magpie tendency': Salman Rushdie and Cultural Brokerism".

Como investigadora no Centro de Estudos Anglísticos da FLUL, tem publicado nacional e internacionalmente, destacando-se:
- O Passado em Exibição: Leituras Pós-modernistas da Época Vitoriana. Chamusca: Cosmos, 2010;

- Re-Orientalism and South Asian Identity Politics: The Oriental Other Within. (Co-org. com Lisa Lau). London and New York: Routledge <> (publicação em Abril de 2011);

- Salman Rushdie and Visual Culture: Celebrating Impurity, Disrupting Borders. (Org.) London and New York: Routledge (*Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature*) <> (publicação em Junho de 2011).


Nota: Atividade no âmbito do Programa de Doutoramento "Estudos Americanos".