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      Decolonizing the Study of English Literature in a Muslim−Malaysian Context: An Argument for a Spiritual−based Comparative Paradigm

      CULTURA

      Peter Lang GmbH

      English literature, comparative, Tawhid, Islam, Malaysia

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          Abstract

          The study of English literature was first introduced to the British colonies and protectorates, including Malaysia, in order to consolidate the cultural superiority of the English people amongst the colonized natives. Its continuation in the postcolonial period of the twenty-first century, either as a component of the English language subject at Malaysian secondary schools or as a degree program at Malaysian universities, has mainly been justified by the liberal-humanistic belief that canonical works in English literature display universal values that should be cultivated in the minds of readers regardless of their nationality or religion. In the past few decades, confusion surrounding the exact nature of these values has resulted in the advent of materialistic philosophies of literary theory. In many Muslim countries, such as Malaysia, these theories have only served to increase reliance on Eurocentric readings of literature, ignoring resistance coming from Muslim readers who have their own Tawhidic spiritual outlook and values. This paper suggests the use of a paradigm that places a concern for spiritual matters at the core of comparative studies of English and Islamic literature, especially at Islamic educational institutions. This can benefit Muslims worldwide in the sense that it will present for them a more comprehensive role than literature alone can play in contributing to their spiritual development as well as generating appreciation for the universality of Islamic teachings.

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          Queries for Postcolonial Studies

           Ihab Hassan (1998)
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            CUL
            CULTURA
            Peter Lang GmbH
            1584-1057
            2065-5002
            2013
            : 10
            : 1
            : 99-118
            Affiliations
            Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia Jalan Gombak, 53100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia aimillia@ 123456hotmail.com
            Article
            10.5840/cultura20131016
            © Peter Lang GmbH, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften, Frankfurt am Main 2013
            Page count
            Pages: 20
            Product

            Philosophy of culture

            Malaysia, Islam, Tawhid, comparative, English literature

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