Religion, Gender, Race, and Conversion: Soumission by Michel Houellebecq and Onderworpen by Johan Simons and Chokri Ben Chikha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this article, I aim to contribute to discussions about the intersections between religion/secularity, gender, and race by drawing upon an analysis of
contemporary cultural production in Western Europe: Michel Houellebecq’s
2015 novel Soumission (Submission) and the 2017 theatre play Onderworpen
(Submission). The analysis focuses upon the way in which the novel and theatre play construct understandings of the Islamic State and Muslims, secular
modernity, and femininity and masculinity. First, I look at how the novel responds to discussions, and anxiety, about the place of religion in contemporary public life, as well as the place of postcolonial racialised subjects. Second,
I look at how the theatre play symbolically stages conversion. Here, I explore
the notion of conversion as submission to the Islamic State, not just of the
individual male character, but also of Western secular modernity at large. I argue that both the novel and the theatre play contribute to, and reinforce, the
so-called Muslim Question. I conclude by considering cultural production as
potentially an agent of secular feelings
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-207
Number of pages17
JournalTijdschrift voor Genderstudies
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

All articles are freely accessible after 2 years under the following Creative Commons license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Keywords

  • representation
  • Islam/Muslims
  • religion
  • gender, race
  • conversion
  • secular feelings

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