Lecturer, English Literature and Creative Writing
Adnan Mahmutovic is a Bosnian-Swedish writer and literary scholar. His works include Ways of Being Free (Rodopi 2010), Thinner than a Hair (Cinnamon Press 2010), How to Fare Well and Stay Fair (Salt Publishing 2012). He teaches literature and creative writing at Stockholm University.
This project looks into the ways socio-political developments in the US and its role in the global new world order(s) since 2001 affected the changes in the notion of citizenry and its manifestations in literature. Writings by Mohsin Hamid, Michael Muhammad Knight, Khaled Hosseini, and Mohja Kahf stage a particular dialectic between the liberal cosmopolitan notions of world citizen and more vernacular manifestations of the same within the US borders. It is in fact by choosing four vernacular works of fiction, each of which presents its own idiosyncratic take on the meaning and function of citizenry in a globalized world, that one can even begin to examine our contemporary use of these ubiquitous notions of “world”, “globe”, and “civic life.”
By reworking the notion of national rights and obligations in terms of global citizenship, this writing emphasizes what Amartya Sen (2006) calls the global, rather than the merely Western, roots of democracy, as well as the idea that citizenry entails that everyone, even if only abstractly, may rewrite civic contracts and contribute to governance. What is at stake in this analysis is the way the social, and global, function of literature is related to the the question of citizenry. The fact that the chosen authors and their work are read across multiple ethnoscapes and inspire change in different demographics is an example of an ongoing, albeit schizophrenic, dialogue between the vernacular and the cosmopolitan.