Writing Back to “Culture Talk”: Reinvention of Muslim Identity in The Road from Damascus

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of English Literature, University of Qom, Qom, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor of English Literature, University of Kashan, Kashan, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor of English Literature, University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan, Iran.



A couple of decades before 9/11, after the collapse of USSR, Islam started to be culturally represented as the major “Other” in the West. 9/11 attacks accelerated the movement with the “culture talk” project positioning Islam as the backward culture against which the West and secularism are portrayed as the epitome of progressive liberal civilization/culture. Muslims, however, wrote back to the project. Literature, especially fiction, was found an appropriate media through which Muslims’ voice could be expressed. Robin Yassin Kassab’s The Road from Damascus is a true writing back attempt in order to respond to the hegemonic “othering” of Islam in the West. The narrative actualizes the purpose upending the constructed bifurcation of “the West” versus “Islam”. Being approached from a new perspective, both terms/signs are deconstructed in the novel so that the center/periphery opposition is reversed. In this new structure each term/sign is given new significances challenging the mainstream “imagined identities” of Muslims in the West.


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