School of Sociology and Social Policy Research Seminar: Muslimness in the world: the Global Ummah in children’s literature, young adult (YA) and adult speculative fiction

We are delighted to welcome Martha Raquel Gonzales (Visiting Researcher, University of Leeds)to deliver the School Research Seminar.

Abstract: This presentation is a critical thinking exercise in how we read literary texts in relation to one another, across both genres and intended age groups.

The literary works I explore in my research, via their own worldliness, a poetics of intertextuality and a critical use of language draw upon diverse genealogies of histories, stories and story telling, to situate Islam as a master signifier where the presence of Muslimness and its exploration works against essentialism, against Islamophobia and racism.  

In redrawing lines of affiliation for present day Muslimness, by acknowledging affiliations that transcend nation state identities, read in relation to one another, these cultural productions exceed the logic of multicultural liberalism and highlight how the Islamicate tradition is not limited to ethnic centric and/or a culturally specific audience.

These literary works demonstrate that the Islamicate tradition is thriving in the hands of creative artists, even as attacks against Muslims continue to occur around the world, and point to how the Islamicate rightfully occupies a prominent place in the world, is vibrant and alive.  

In this way these texts are not considered for what they represent but rather for what they are and what they do; they assert non-western patterns of knowledge production and meaning, they illuminate a passage from the post-colonial condition to a decolonial horizon.   

About Dr Martha Raquel Gonzales

Dr Martha Raquel Gonzales, Visiting Researcher in CERS and the School of Sociology and Social Policy, is a Lecturer in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at University of California, Davis.

She has taught a wide range of courses in Ethnic Studies Departments throughout California, with a focus on race, racism and critical thinking; histories, literature and epistemologies of the Americas; as well as decolonial theory and praxis.  

A contributing cultural producer and member of the grass roots collective Mujeres de Maiz out of Los Angeles, CA, her most recent work, prior to coming to Leeds, includes the best selling co-edited collection Voices from the Ancestors: Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices (2019).   

Besides working on a book length study of speculative fiction which is the basis of her presentation for the Fall Seminar Series, she is also penning a collection of essays on the meaning and importance of bridging theories of decolonisation and practice/praxis across hemispheres, as well as a short story collection.  

How to join the seminar

The event will be held in person in the Social Sciences Building 12.21/25. No booking required.