Digital Subaltern Counterpublics and Muslim Women’s Resistance in Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire and Samira Ahmed’s Internment

Nalini Iyer, Seattle University
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Spring 2022), 135-154

This article examines the gendered racialization of Muslim women in Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire (2017) and Samira Ahmed’s Internment (2019) and argues that their young South Asian Muslim women protagonists navigate physical and digital spaces to claim their rights as citizens. The article first explores the ways in which the public sphere operates transnationally and has shaped perceptions of Muslims in the United Kingdom and United States since 9/11, and analyzes the role of transnational sub­altern counterpublics to resist Islamophobia and state repression. The article then examines the ways in which the young Muslim women in Shamsie’s and Ahmed’s works fight the xenophobic state, its surveillance regime, and the curtailment of the ability of Muslims to move freely. In both novels, resistance emerges as a transnational subaltern counterpublic in traditional and digital media. The novels underscore the young women’s agency in over­coming constraints on their mobility and freedom of speech to claim their rights as citizens and engage in an oppositional public sphere that counters their exclusion.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]