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News posted in November 2015

Features

A Contrarian View: Race, Representation, and Islamophobia in Ayad Akhtar’s "Disgraced"

A play written by a Muslim American playwright of Pakistani heritage will receive more productions nationwide than any other play. In fact, Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced is the first play ever to feature a Muslim protagonist (apostate or otherwise) to have garnered this level of attention and acclaim. From Chicago’s American Theatre Company, to Lincoln Center, to London’s West End, to Broadway, to a Tony nomination, to scheduled productions at over 50 U.S. theatre companies, to an HBO film deal, to foreign language translations, Disgraced has become nothing short of an international phenomenon. And yet, the play’s resounding success begs an obvious question: Why is a play that affirms so many popular fears about Muslims the toast of the American theatre season? More specifically, why is that Islamophobes and anti-Muslim bigots are leaving this play feeling validated and vindicated?

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Features

PARSING DISGRACED: An Assault, A Critique, and A Truce

The staff at Silk Road Rising crafted a set of questions for me about Ayad Akhtar’s play "Disgraced." I found them immensely cathartic to answer. Many of the ideas and opinions expressed below will be integrated and expanded upon in a soon-to-released larger piece that I’ve been developing with South Asian American scholars Fawzia Afzal-Khan and Neilesh Bose.

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