Professor Peter Morey

Professor Peter Morey

Department of English Literature
Chair in 20th Century English Literature

Contact details

Address
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

I work on 20th century, contemporary and postcolonial literary studies, with particular reference to issues of cultural difference, narrative and power. I am the author and/or editor of numerous books,  including Fictions of India: Narrative and Power (2000); Rohinton Mistry (2004); Framing Muslims: Stereotyping and Representation after 9/11 (2011), and Islamophobia and the Novel (forthcoming 2018)  I have written articles in peer reviewed journals, and other publications, and have edited four essay collections and a journal special issue. I have led two recent funded research projects: Framing Muslims (AHRC) and Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue (RCUK) exploring questions of power and trust in majority/minority relations.

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) English/History (University of Gloucestershire)
  • MA in Twentieth Century Literature (University of Sussex)
  • DPhil (University of Sussex)

Biography

My interest in narrative and power began as a postgraduate student with a Masters in Twentieth-Century Literature at Sussex, specialising in my dissertation on the work of J.G.Farrell. For my doctorate, also at Sussex, I undertook a study of narrative and ideology in four British writers on India – Kipling, Forster, Masters and Scott. This became the basis of my first book, Fictions of India: Narrative and Power. Thereafter, I worked extensively on the literature of the South Asian diaspora, producing a single-author study of Rohinton Mistry, and writing numerous chapters, essays and journal articles. More recently, I have focussed on minority/majority relations as played out in literature, thinking about the links between those same questions of form and content that can also be seen operating in popular narratives about, for example, multiculturalism, or the Muslim ‘Other’.

 My new book, Islamophobia and the Novel will be published by Columbia University Press in 2018. I have received two substantial funding awards for projects entitled Framing Muslims and Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue. Issues of narrative and power continue to inform my current work which focuses on questions of trust, empathy and interculturalism (the latter understood as a dynamic process, rather than an achieved state or a political programme).

After my DPhil, I taught postcolonial, modern and contemporary literature modules at the Universities of Sussex, Leeds, and Worcester. Subsequently, I taught for many years at the University of East London, devising and delivering modules covering literature from the eighteenth century rise of the novel to the present day, as well as being subject head for three years, assisting in preparations for REF, and serving on various committees.

I joined the University of Birmingham in 2017 and currently teach on contemporary and postcolonial literature modules and supervise undergraduate dissertations.

Teaching

I have taught on a wide array of modules at different universities over the years, ranging from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. In particular, I have devised and taught postcolonial literature modules at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, led specialist single-author modules, and designed and led modern, postmodern and contemporary courses.

At Birmingham, I teach modules on postcolonial, modern and contemporary writing, and supervise dissertations.

Postgraduate supervision

I have experience of supervising PhD students working on South Asian diaspora literature, and globalisation and literature.

I welcome research proposals in these areas, and also on questions of narrative and power; literature and cultural difference; literature and the War on Terror; and writing on Muslim minorities in the West.

Research

My research explores questions of authority and representation across cultural difference and suggests new ways to understand the role of literature and literary competence in shaping the plural modern world.

I have been principal investigator in two recent major research projects: the AHRC-funded Framing Muslims network (2007-10); and Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue project, funded by the RCUK (2012-15); and have published several works on how intercultural relations are framed in the modern world and the part literature plays in this framing. The book that resulted from the earlier project, Framing Muslims: Stereotyping and Representation after 9/11, was nominated for a Grawemeyer Award by Louisville University in 2012 in the religions category. For more on the public-facing work of both projects please visit www.muslimstrustdialogue.org The Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue project has also led to a policy briefing document: http://www.paccsresearch.org.uk/policy-briefings/trust-and-the-prevent-duty/

My first book, Fictions of India: Narrative and Power, published by Edinburgh University Press in 2000, explored the extent to which selected literary texts by writers such as Kipling, Forster, Masters, Scott and Farrell endorse or problematise established discourses of power in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Subsequent books have been about the predicament of the modern diasporic subject, as in my single-author study of the Canadian-based Parsi novelist Rohinton Mistry (Manchester UP, 2004);  questions of minority discourse in the collection of essays entitled Alternative Indias: Writing Nation and Communalism (Rodopi, 2006); contemporary Muslim writing in Culture, Diaspora and Modernity in Muslim Writing (Routledge 2012); and two collections of cross-disciplinary essays entitled Contesting Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim Prejudice in Media, Culture and Politics (IB Tauris), and Muslims, Trust and Multiculturalism (Palgrave) (both forthcoming in 2018).

My new book Islamophobia and the Novel (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2018) explores how modern anti-Muslim prejudice can be seen as a product of globalised geopolitical interests, refracted – rather than reflected – in literary fiction. It challenges the questionable critical conflation of the novel’s polyphony with the values of post-Enlightenment humanism, and suggests that the in-built prejudices of our secular mode of critique should be recognised as colouring our understanding of works that attempt to convey culturally different experiences and values.

Amongst my other published work on twentieth-century and contemporary authors are journal articles on Mohsin Hamid and Mirza Waheed; chapters in the Cambridge Companions to E.M. Forster and Salman Rushdie (both 2007); a chapter on Black British and Asian writing in Peter Boxall and Bryan Cheyette (eds.) The Oxford History of the Novel in English, Vol. VII: British and Irish Fiction since 1940 (2016); and an essay on Hari Kunzru in Len Platt and Sarah Upstone’s Postmodern Literature and Race (2015). In addition, I have recent essays on postsecularism, diaspora, and Neo-Orientalism and Islamophobia in forthcoming journal numbers and edited collections.

Papers presented (including keynotes):

Sep 2017 - ‘Liberal Orientalism and the Battle over Space in Amy Waldman’s The Submission’, at 2017 PSA Convention, Senate House, London.

July 2017 - ‘Islamophobia and the Politics of Space in H.M. Naqvi’s Home Boy’, at English: Shared Futures, Newcastle Civic Centre.

Nov 2016 - ‘Culture as a Tool to Build Trust’, at Security and the Arts and Humanities seminar, Royal United Service Institute, London.

June 2016 - ‘Trust and Culture in a Diverse Society’, at Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations seminar series, Coventry University.

April 2016 - ‘How interesting it would be to write a book about this family’: Trust and Truth Claims in The Bookseller of Kabul’, at Literature and Trust Network, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Nov 2015 - 'Framing Freedom’, at SOAS-Nohoudh Muslim Integration Conference Brunei Gallery, London.

May 2015 - ‘Muslims and Trust’, invited panellist at Bradford Literature Festival (with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Hassan Mahamdallie and Sayeeda Warsi)

Feb 2015 - ‘“Halal Fiction” and the Limits of Postsecularism’, at Global Halal,  Michigan State University.

June 2014 - ‘Islamophobia and the Novel’, at British Culture after 9/11, Teesside University. (Keynote Address)

June 2014 - ‘Muslim Misery Memoirs: Exotic Suffering, Truth and Genre’, at Beyond Islamophobia, SOAS, University of London.

June 2013 - ‘Framing Trust: Impression Management and the Multiculturalism Debate’, at Muslims, Multiculturalism and Trust: New Directions, SOAS, University of London.

Mar 2013 - ‘Putting the Culture Back in Multiculturalism’, at Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, Cultural Bridges Conference, London. 

Nov 2012 - ‘”How Stories Travel”: Worlding the 9/11 Novel in Nadeem Aslam’s The Wasted Vigil’, at South Asian Fictions: Contemporary Transformations, Institute of English Studies, London.

Sep 2012 - ‘World Literature and Multicultural Textualities’, at Crafts of World Literature, Faculty of English, University of Oxford.

April 2012 - ‘Framing Muslims: The Fundamentals’, School of English Research Colloquium, University of Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.

Feb 2012 - ‘The Black Album and the Illusions of Cultural Identity’, at In Analysis: The Work of Hanif Kureishi, University of Roehampton, UK

June 2011 - ‘Limits of the Sacred’, at conference Empowerment and the Sacred, University of Leeds

Feb 2011 - ‘Liberal Multiculturalism and the Authentic Fallacy: the Limits of Cultural Identity’, at Multiculturalism in a Globalised Society: European Muslims, Identity and Citizenship, University of Northampton, UK.

Nov 2010 - ‘Mourning Becomes Kashmira: Melancholia, and the Evacuation of Politics in Salman Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown’, at conference The Depoliticization of 9/11, University of Newcastle.

June 2010 - ‘Crossing Borders in Dan Fesperman’s The Warlord’s Son’, at Before and After 9/11: American Literature and Culture, University of Leicester, UK.

May 2010 - ' "The Rules of the Game have Changed": Violence, Fiction and Form post-9/11', at conference Literature and Violence, University of Kent

Nov 2009 - ‘Passing Strangers: Playing Around with Stereotypes in Spooks’ at Representing the War on Terror: post-9/11 television drama and documentary, University of Glamorgan, Cardiff.

June 2009 - ‘How (not) to Recognise a Muslim Stereotype: the Spooks Controversy’, at Framing Muslims: New Directions, Ferguson Centre, The Open University.

May 2009 - ‘Race, Representation and Authenticity: the Case of the “Muslim Letter”’, for the Muslims in Europe Research Group, Free University, Berlin, Germany.

April 2009 - ‘Framing Muslims in Contemporary British Television Drama’, at Britain and the Muslim World, University of Exeter.

May 2008 - ‘Terrorvision: Muslims in Television Thrillers post-9/11’, at symposium Race, Nation, Diaspora: Muslims in the New World Order, University of California, Irvine, USA.

April 2008 - ‘Reporting 7/7: Race and the Limits of Multiculturalism’, at conference Muslims, Race and the Public Sphere, Michigan State University, USA.

Oct 2007 - ‘Stereotypes and Strangers in Film and Television Drama since 9/11’, at Inter-University Postcolonial Seminar Series, Senate House, University of London.

July 2007 - ‘Rethinking the Stereotype: Ontology and Performativity in Contemporary Public Discourses on Muslims’, at conference Re-Routing the Postcolonial, University of Northampton, UK.

Feb 2007 - ‘You’ve Been Framed:  Stereotype, Performativity and the Lever of Intervention in Yasmin’, at conference Cosmopolitanism: Thinking Beyond the Nation, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA.

April 2006 - ‘The Limits of Imagination: Salman Rushdie and the English Tradition’, South Asia Initiative (Humanities Center), Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Other activities

I have served on both the AHRC and ESRC Peer Review Colleges, and am a member of the Postcolonial Studies Association. I was Research Associate in the Centre for the Study of Pakistan at SOAS (2014-15); an Associate Member of the London Middle East Institute (2014) and of the Open University Postcolonial Literatures Research Group (2010-11). From 2009 to 2013 I acted as external examiner for the BA in English Literature at Brunel University and am currently filling the same role for the new MA in English at Teesside University (2016 onwards).

I am a peer reviewer for submissions to postcolonial journals and am currently on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature. I also review submissions for publishers such as Routledge and Ashgate.

As part of the engagement work for my research projects, I have recently been involved in a number of public and policy-related events including being:

  • Speaker at the House of Lords launch of the policy briefing document, Trust and the Prevent Duty, July 2017.
  • Main Speaker at Partnership for Crime, Conflict and Security Research PaccS/Brilliant Club Sixth Form Workshop on Religion and Conflict, OU Camden, London, September 2016.
  • Chair and Keynote speaker at seminar on Trust and the Prevent Duty (co-organised with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown), Friends House, Euston, May 2016. Author of resulting policy briefing document (see publications).
  • Main speaker at PaCCS Policy Workshop, ‘The Role of Religion in Contemporary Security Challenges’, London, September 2015. This event brought together more than 50 academics, policymakers, parliamentarians and members of media and not-for-profit organisations.

http://www.paccsresearch.org.uk/news/policy-workshop-role-religion-contemporary-security-challenges/

  • Executive Producer of documentary film, Journey into Europe (dir. Akbar S. Ahmed) 2015.
  • Panellist with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Baroness Sayeda Warsi in a discussion on ‘Muslims and Trust’ at the Bradford Literature Festival, 16 May 2015.
  • Organising and part-funding a photographic exhibition, ‘The Art of Integration’, by the remowned photographer Peter Sanders, at the Brunei Gallery, London, May – July 2015. The exhibition received over 7000 visitors and was covered by BBC London.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-32863718

  • Reviewer/respondent at launch of Professor Paul Weller’s European Muslims, Civility and Public Life at the Dialogue Society, Holloway Road, London (March 2012)

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9w3qj0ZXDc

  • Involvement in the consultation process for the development of a priority Islamic Studies strand for HEFCE (2008-9)
  • Invited interviewee on RT channel’s ‘Sputnik’ discussion programme (21st June 2014)

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp15tHyB9hA

  • Invited participant in Cabinet Office ‘Horizon Scanning’ roundtable on trust (8th July 2014)

Publications

Monographs and books

2018: Critical Monograph: Islamophobia and the Novel: Cultural Difference and Conflict in Contemporary Writing (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2017) (ISBN 978 0 231 17774 0)

2011: Critical Book: Framing Muslims: Stereotyping and Representation after 9/11, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press – co-authored with Amina Yaqin (ISBN 978 0 674 04852 2)

2004: Critical monograph: Rohinton Mistry (Contemporary World Writers Series), Manchester: Manchester University Press (ISBN 0 7190 6715 4)

2000: Critical monograph: Fictions of India: Narrative and Power, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (ISBN 0 7486 1181 9).

Edited volumes

2018: Contesting Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim Prejudice in Media, Culture and Politics (with Alaya Forte and Amina Yaqin), London: I. B. Tauris, (Forthcoming, 2018)

2018: Muslims, Trust and Multiculturalism (with Amina Yaqin and Asmaa Soliman), London: Palgrave (Forthcoming 2018)

2012: Culture, Diaspora and Modernity in Muslim Writing, (with Rehana Ahmed and Amina Yaqin) London and New York: Routledge (Research in Postcolonial literatures Series) (ISBN 978 0 41589677 1). Includes jointly written introduction and one of my own essays.

2006: Alternative Indias: Writing,Nation and Communalism, (with Alex Tickell) Rodopi, Amsterdam, 2006. (ISBN 90 4201927 1) Includes jointly written introduction and one of my own essays: ‘Running Repairs: Corruption, Community and Duty in Rohinton Mistry’s Family Matters’.

Government policy briefing

2018: Trust and the Prevent Duty (with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown) London (Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research, RCUK) http://www.paccsresearch.org.uk/policy-briefings/trust-and-the-prevent-duty/

Journal Special Issue

2010: Co-editor of Special Issue of Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, entitled ‘Muslims in the Frame’ (12: 2, July 2010) including a jointly authored introduction and one of my own essays: ‘Terrorvision: Race, Nation and Muslimness in Fox’s 24’. (ISSN 1369-801X)

Articles, essays and chapters

2018: Chapter: ‘Many homes, many forms: Diasporic locations and translocations’, in Susheila Nasta and Mark Stein (eds.) The Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing, Cambridge University Press. (Forthcoming, 2018)

2018: Journal Article: “Halal Fiction” and the Limits of Postsecularism’, in Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 53:2 (2018) (forthcoming)                                                          

2018: Chapter: ‘Neo-Orientalism and Islamophobia’, in Geoffrey Nash (ed.) Orientalism and Literature, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Forthcoming, 2018)

2015: Essay: ‘Performing Identity: Intertextuality, Race and Difference in the South Asian Novel in English’, in Sara Upstone and Len Platt (eds) Postmodern Literature and Race, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2015: Chapter on ‘Black and Asian British Fiction’ in Bryan Cheyette and Peter Boxall (eds.) The Oxford History of the Novel. Volume 7: British and Irish Fiction Since 1940 Oxford: Oxford University Press.       

2014: Essay: ‘Hamlet in Paradise: The Politics of Procrastination in Mirza Waheed’s The Collaborator in Claire Chambers and Caroline Herbert (eds) Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora: Secularism, Religion, Representations London and New York: Routledge.

2012: Journal article: ‘The Cult of Irshad Manji’, Critical Muslim, No.3 (ISSN 1478 4718)

2012: Essay: ‘Mourning Becomes Kashmira: Islam, Melancholia, and the Evacuation of Politics in Salman Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown’ in Rehana Ahmed, Peter Morey and Amina Yaqin (eds) Culture, Diaspora and Modernity in Muslim Writing, London and New York: Routledge.

2011: Journal article: ‘The Rules of the Game Have Changed’: Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and post-9/11 Fiction’, in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 47:2. 135-146.

2011: Essay: 'Framing Muslims in British Television Drama' in Gerald Maclean (ed.) Britain and the Muslim World: Historical Perspectives, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press.

2010: Journal article: ‘Terrorvision: Race, Nation and Muslimness in Fox’s 24’ in Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 12:2, 251-264 (ISSN 1369-801X)

2010: Journal article: ‘Strangers and Stereotypes: the Spooks Controversy and the Framing of Muslims’, in ‘Beyond the Law: Postcolonial Writing, Legality and Legitimacy’, special issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 46:5 (2010) 529-539 (ISSN 1744-9855)

2010: Essay: ‘You’ve Been framed: Stereotype and Performativity in Yasmin’, in Rinella Cere and Rosalind Brunt (eds.) Postcolonial Media Culture in Britain, London: Palgrave.

2007: Chapter: ‘Salman Rushdie and the English Tradition’, in Abdulrazak Gurnah (ed.) Cambridge Companion to Salman Rushdie, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (ISBN: 052160995X)

2007: Chapter: ‘Postcolonial Forster’, in David Bradshaw (ed.) Cambridge Companion to E. M. Forster, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (ISBN 521 834759)

2006: Essay: ‘Tunnels and Bridges: Narrative and Power in Two Novels of India’, in Roopa Srinivasan, Manish Tiwari and Sandeep Silas (eds.) Our Indian Railway: Themes in India’s Railway History, New Delhi: Foundation Books, (ISBN 8175963301)

2005: Encyclopaedia entries: ‘The Raj’ and ‘The Emergency’ in Prem Poddar and David Johnson (eds) A Historical Companion to Postcolonial literatures in English, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press.

2003: Journal article: ‘Running Repairs: Corruption, Community and Duty in Rohinton Mistry’s Family Matters’, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 38:2 (2003)

2002-4: Chapters: ‘Colonial Discourse, Postcolonial Theory’ in Kate McGowan (ed.) The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory Vols. 10, 11 and 12. Oxford University Press, co-authored with Patrick Williams. (ISBN 0 1985 2744 6).

2002: Review essay: ‘The Space to Speak: Authority, Authenticity and the South Asian Diaspora’, Wasafiri  No. 35. pp. 57-60, (ISSN 0269 0055) 

2001: Journal article:  ‘Terrible Beautification: The Body Politics of Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance’, in Angles on the English Speaking World, Vol.1, University of Copenhagen (ISSN 0903 1723), pp. 75-88.

2000: Chapter entitled 'Gothic and Supernatural: Allegories at Work and at Play in Kipling's Indian Fiction', in Julian Wolfreys and Ruth Robbins (eds.) Victorian Gothic, Basingstoke: Macmillan., pp. 201-217. (ISBN 0 333 74935 9)

1997-2000: Chapters on 'Raj Fiction' in Robert Clark (ed.) The Annotated Bibliography for English Studies, Amsterdam, Swets and Zeitlinger (CD Rom).