Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

Making the British Muslim

Representations of the Rushdie Affair and Figurations of the War on Terror Decade

Dr. des. Nicole Falkenhayner


The working hypothesis of the dissertation project positions the media attention topicalizing the Satanic Verses controversy as one of the kick-off events in the public discursive construction of a de-nationalized fundamentalist Islam as the new “other” to an also de-nationalized (or transnationalized) west after the breakdown of the eastern block in the late 1980s.

Based on this hypothesis, the project wishes to investigate two interlinked research questions:

Firstly, how can the western media events be analyzed in order to show their function in constructing an integrative western discourse by disintegrating values and beliefs ascribed to an allegedly pre-modern Islam operating on a parallel time scale? Which socio-cultural narratives, including scientific knowledge constructions, did possibly aid and enable the public figurations and narratives constituting this boundary construction?

Secondly, contemporary literature conventionally labeled as post-colonial has been interpreted in the literary sciences as deflating and deconstructing precisely the above mentioned discursive boundary constructions in mass media. Reconsidering this claim, the discussion of the topic in literary sciences as well as in literary works is analyzed, asking questions about the constituting theoretical presumptions and contemporary development of post-colonial criticism. The aim of the project is to show the interaction of different areas of knowledge production in the symbolic construction of cultural realities.



Making the British Muslim. Representations of the Rushdie Affair and Figures of the War-On-Terror Decade. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2014 (Europe in a Global Context, 3)

Nicole Falkenhayner: The Other Rupture of 1989: The Rushdie Affair as the Inaugural Event of Representations of Post-secular Conflict. In: Global Society, 24, 1 (2010), 111-132. full text