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Imaging Islamic Identity: Negotiated Norms of Representation in Euro-Muslim Picture Books

Janson, Torsten LU (2012) In Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 32(2). p.323-338
Abstract
The article analyzes the recent genre of Islamic children’s picture books, originally produced as a means of religious socialization for the British Muslim communities, but marked on a global Islamic market. Particular attention is devoted to the visual norms of the books produced by one of the pioneering publishers of Islamic children’s literature, the Islamic Foundation. With one foot in the pedagogic needs of contemporary British-Muslim children and the aesthetic standards of a Euro-American picture book tradition, and the other foot in an Islamic theological and artistic tradition of visual representation, the article discusses the creative processes of negotiation defining the visual codes of images illustrating the stories. While the... (More)
The article analyzes the recent genre of Islamic children’s picture books, originally produced as a means of religious socialization for the British Muslim communities, but marked on a global Islamic market. Particular attention is devoted to the visual norms of the books produced by one of the pioneering publishers of Islamic children’s literature, the Islamic Foundation. With one foot in the pedagogic needs of contemporary British-Muslim children and the aesthetic standards of a Euro-American picture book tradition, and the other foot in an Islamic theological and artistic tradition of visual representation, the article discusses the creative processes of negotiation defining the visual codes of images illustrating the stories. While the books produced during the formative period of the 1980s remained faithful to a strict interpretation of Sunni orthodox norms of representation, avoiding depiction of animated beings, the children’s literature published from the late 1990s has abandoned such visual restriction. Then again, the depiction of animated beings in more recent materials is balanced by more subtle ways of underscoring the particularly Islamic character of the children’s literature. Rather than bluntly imposing visual or theological norms on reading children, the recent literature aims at the religious socialization by relying on a careful selection of topics for narration (the domestic sphere, ritual space, created nature) as well as key-symbols in the illustrations. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Islam, Children's literature, Islamic art, norms of representation, minority, Britain, Kube Publishing, Islamic Foundation, multiculturalism
in
Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
volume
32
issue
2
pages
323 - 338
publisher
Duke University Press
ISSN
1089-201X
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c74806f4-f461-4864-a135-54c5cb7a2375 (old id 3290521)
date added to LUP
2012-12-21 16:33:26
date last changed
2017-05-18 10:48:16
@article{c74806f4-f461-4864-a135-54c5cb7a2375,
  abstract     = {The article analyzes the recent genre of Islamic children’s picture books, originally produced as a means of religious socialization for the British Muslim communities, but marked on a global Islamic market. Particular attention is devoted to the visual norms of the books produced by one of the pioneering publishers of Islamic children’s literature, the Islamic Foundation. With one foot in the pedagogic needs of contemporary British-Muslim children and the aesthetic standards of a Euro-American picture book tradition, and the other foot in an Islamic theological and artistic tradition of visual representation, the article discusses the creative processes of negotiation defining the visual codes of images illustrating the stories. While the books produced during the formative period of the 1980s remained faithful to a strict interpretation of Sunni orthodox norms of representation, avoiding depiction of animated beings, the children’s literature published from the late 1990s has abandoned such visual restriction. Then again, the depiction of animated beings in more recent materials is balanced by more subtle ways of underscoring the particularly Islamic character of the children’s literature. Rather than bluntly imposing visual or theological norms on reading children, the recent literature aims at the religious socialization by relying on a careful selection of topics for narration (the domestic sphere, ritual space, created nature) as well as key-symbols in the illustrations.},
  author       = {Janson, Torsten},
  issn         = {1089-201X},
  keyword      = {Islam,Children's literature,Islamic art,norms of representation,minority,Britain,Kube Publishing,Islamic Foundation,multiculturalism},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {323--338},
  publisher    = {Duke University Press},
  series       = {Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East},
  title        = {Imaging Islamic Identity: Negotiated Norms of Representation in Euro-Muslim Picture Books},
  volume       = {32},
  year         = {2012},
}