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Provost's Imagine Fund for Arts and Humanities

Coming Out: The Emergence of Muslim Women’s Voices in French Literature and Film

I request funds to index my book project and to present its findings at the Congrès International d’Études Francophones (CIEF) conference in Martinique in June 2017.

My book analyzes the emergence of Muslim women’s voices in French literature and film from the 1970s to 2001, when immigrant women and their daughters started to craft narratives reflecting their lives and realities. I first show that, in response to French racism, male Maghrebian immigrants created a gendered inside/outside model of nationalist identity. I then spend the rest of the book investigating the problem I am most interested in: how the women of the Muslim immigrant communities resist that inside/outside model. Doing close readings of three novels and four films, I show the dangers and frustrations these women face as they are pulled between their immigrant communities, who use them as avatars of their homelands, and the French communities, who use them as markers of integration. My research shows that the protagonists created by Muslim women and their daughters resist both pressures by playing a metaphorical game of ‘passing’ between the immigrant communities’ non-territorial nationalism and the French territorial nationalism.

I have written the entire book except for approximately 30 pages, which I plan to finish by January. Purdue University Press is interested in seeing the completed manuscript. This request for an Imagine Grant is to fund the indexing to prepare it for publication. I then plan to present some of this work at the 2017 CIEF conference in Martinique.

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