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"This Is My Story"

The Reclaiming of Girls’ Education Discourses in Malala Yousafzai’s Autobiography

Rosie Walters

The cause of girls’ education in developing countries has received unprecedented attention from international organizations, politicians, transnational corporations, and the media in recent years. Much has been written about the ways in which these seemingly emancipatory campaigns reproduce historical discourses that portray women in former colonies as in need of rescue by the West. However, to date little has been written about the ways in which young women’s and girls’ education activists represent themselves. In this article I analyze I Am Malala, the autobiography of Pakistani girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai, written for her own age group. Using a feminist, poststructuralist approach to discourse analysis, it considers the way in which Yousafzai negotiates and challenges discourses around young women, Pakistan, and Islam. I conclude that a truly emancipatory understanding of girls’ rights would look not to the words and policies of powerful organizations but, rather, to young women themselves.

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Introduction

Beyond Orientalism; Texting the Victorian East

Julia Kuehn and Tamara S. Wagner

Thirty years after its publication in 1978, a reconsideration of Edward Said’s Orientalism invites a shift from contextual and colonial discourse analysis towards a renewed attention to ambiguities of form and structure. The central point of interest of this special issue, ‘Re-Imagining the Victorian Orient’, hinges upon close readings of canonical and noncanonical texts, side by side, in order to highlight the complexities of Victorian literary culture that earlier readings often threatened to deny. The analyses comprise discussions of travel writing as well as of fiction from the 1830s up to the 1920s, covering what is commonly considered the height of imperialism. What brings the essays in this special issue together is the project of opening up the question of the Victorian Orient as a concept and a literary topos, based upon, but also beyond the critical tenets of Orientalism. While this project is rooted in literary history and the history of representation, its main emphasis firmly rests on a ‘texting’ of the Victorian East: an emphasis on genre, aesthetics, and structural metaphors. This collection is held together by the places it foregrounds as much as by this critical redirection towards textual analysis. Divided into two parts, it reads women’s travelogues covering the Middle East, South, and South East Asia, comparing and contrasting them with the ‘notorious’ colonial novels of Dickens, Conrad, Kipling, and Forster.

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Eckhardt Fuchs and Marcus Otto

Cultures of remembrance or memory cultures have constituted an interdisciplinary field of research since the 1990s. While this field has achieved a high level of internal differentiation, it generally views its remit as one that encompasses “all imaginable forms of conscious remembrance of historical events, personalities, and processes.” In contrast to this comprehensive and therefore rather vague definition of “culture of remembrance” or “memory culture”, we use the term “politics of memory” here and in what follows in a more specific sense, in order to emphasize “the moment at which the past is made functional use of in the service of present-day purposes, to the end of shaping an identity founded in history.” Viewing the issue in terms of discourse analysis, we may progress directly from this definition to identify and investigate politics of memory as a discourse of strategic resignifications of the past as formulated in history and implemented in light of contemporary identity politics. While the nation-state remains a central point of reference for the politics of memory, the field is by no means limited to official forms of the engagement of states with their past. In other words, it does not relate exclusively to the official character of a state’s policy on history. Instead, it also encompasses the strategic politics of memory and identity pursued by other stakeholders in a society, a politics that frequently, but not always, engages explicitly with state-generated and state-sanctioned memory politics. Thus, the politics of memory is currently unfolding as a discourse of ongoing, highly charged debate surrounding collective self-descriptions in modern, “culturally” multilayered, and heterogeneous societies, where self-descriptions draw on historical developments and events that are subject to conflict.