March 2007
Volume 10, Number 4

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Teaching Literature in the Muslim World: A Bicultural Approach

Scott Alkire
San Jose State University, California, USA

Andrew Alkire
U.S. Department of State, Surabaya, Indonesia


Although most universities in the Muslim world publicly recognize and support the teaching of Western literature, the exploration of some Western literary themes (for example, self-determination, sexual liberation and gender equality) is viewed negatively by authority figures as well as by some professors and students.

To reconcile this concern with Lewis's view that the mutual study of literature between Westerners and Muslims is essential (1993), it is proposed that the judicious selecting and teaching of bicultural literature (Western writers on the Muslim world and vice versa) can introduce Muslims to Western literature and its themes with a minimum of cultural conflict.

Keywords: ESL, EFL, Islam, Koran, literature, culture, religious beliefs, Qur'an, Muslim world, Muslims, teaching

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