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Vol. 47, No. 3


September 2017





Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica

Engaging Politically from the Margin

Critical Cosmopolitanism in the Works of

Kamila Shamsie



Pei-chen Liao

Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Cheng Kung University

No. 1, University Rd., East District, Tainan 70101, Taiwan



This essay explores Pakistani British writer Kamila

Shamsie’s engagement in local and global politics, focusing in

particular on her book-length non-fiction

Offence: The

Muslim Case

(2009) and two recent novels,

Burnt Shadows

(2009) and

A God in Every Stone

(2014), which mark two

significant temporal points in Shamsie’s life: 9/11, and her

acquisition of British citizenship. Bringing to the fore the

impact of international events, immigration, and national

allegiance on Shamsie’s political engagement, I argue that

these three books bear witness to Shamsie’s critical

cosmopolitanism, which is locally rooted, universally diverse,

Received Feburary 15, 2017; accepted June 21, 2017; last revised June 12, 2017

Proofreaders: Hsueh-mei Chen, Alex C. Chang, Kuei-feng Hu


This essay is the result of two research projects sponsored by the Ministry of

Science and Technology in Taiwan, grant number MOST 103-2911-I-006-502

and MOST 102-2410-H-006-090-MY3.

Part of this essay was presented at the

international conference “Creative Misreading and Evolving Paradigm” held at

National Cheng Kung University on June 12, 2015. I am indebted to Professor

Hsiu-chuan Lee for her valuable comments at the conference.