Negotiating the Hyphens in a Culture of Surveillance: Embodied Surveillance and the Representation of Muslim Adolescence in Anglophone YA Fiction

  • Lisa White
Keywords: Muslim, YA Fiction, When Michael met Mina, Saints and Misfits, embodied surveillance

Abstract

In the era defined by the war on terror, border security, and increased Western cultural anxiety, the discourses of politics, race, and gender influence the representation of non-normative bodies, notably in the signification of female Muslim adolescent bodies as sites of political, racial, and cultural contestation within a culture of surveillance. Mirroring Western society, Anglophone YA fiction typically privileges white normative portrayals of Western adolescence. Fostered in a culture of suspicion, the revitalized orientalist tropes depict Muslim adolescent girls as bodies to “save,” “fear,” and “Westernize.” An emerging group of YA novels presents a substantive challenge to this tradition by seeking to disrupt patriarchal, white normative conceptualizations of Western adolescence. Through an analysis of Randa Abdel-Fattah’s When Michael Met Mina and S. K. Ali’s Saints and Misfits, this article explores the ways in which the female Muslim adolescent body is constructed as a product of surveillance, problematizing the experiences of embodied surveillance and the complexities of being identified as a part of racialized surveillant assemblages.

 

DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2020.0007

Author Biography

Lisa White

Lisa White is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English, Macquarie University, Australia. This article is drawn from her doctoral research, Under a Culture of Surveillance: Representations of Female Asian Adolescent Subjectivities in Western Young Adolescent Fiction. Her research interests include girlhood studies, intersectional feminism, body politics and representations of Anglonormativity in YA fiction. Lisa works as a sessional tutor and academic advisor at Macquarie University.

Published
2020-08-27
How to Cite
White, L. (2020). Negotiating the Hyphens in a Culture of Surveillance: Embodied Surveillance and the Representation of Muslim Adolescence in Anglophone YA Fiction. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 12(1), 122-143. Retrieved from http://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/488
Section
Articles