What exactly is Islamophobia? How can we best define this cultural force and ideological technique? Is it an anachronistic cultural construct emerging out of the old engines of the colonial apparatus, amongst them economicism, culturalism and the ‘imperial racial matrix’? Is it a contemporary phenomenon shaped by the Huntingtonian ‘clash of civilizations’ hypothesis and the events of 9/11? Or, is it, as some claim, the case of an individualized prejudiced logic, one amongst many in society and the existing mode of cultural production? This paper decodes Islamophobia in contemporary capitalist society by exploring Michel Houellebecq’s oeuvre. Houellebecq’s bestsellers, as cultural artefacts, allow us to ideologically map out how culture in conjunction with the ideological apparatus is able to produce power-saturated politico-ontological typologies. Typologies which are indexed to the existing status quo, and as such, are assigned metaphysicalized attributes, a certain value and a predetermined fate.
Medievalism, Religion and Imagined Pasts: A Workshop