Dr Shiraz Thobani, a Research Associate with the Department of Curriculum Studies at the Institute, has co-edited a new publication with Dr Gerdien Jonker, entitled Narrating Islam: Interpretations of the Muslim World in European Texts.
The series of articles in this publication were first presented by European scholars at an international conference and workshop on the subject which took place in 2006 and 2007. The articles explore both the history and contemporary representations of narratives about Islam and Muslims, as reflected in European school textbooks.
In this context, Muslims have often taken the role of the ‘other’ during the last 500 years of European history, that is, from the Reformation up to the 21st century. In each region, the role of the ‘other’ is linked to safeguarding their indigenous, cultural and political frameworks. The militarily and culturally superior Ottomans, along with other Muslim cultures at Europe’s margins, were one of the catalysts for European self perception. Thus, these narratives lead to increased collective identity and group cohesion.
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