Contesting the secular school: everyday nationalism and negotiations of Muslim childhoods

Amatullah, Shaima (2022) Contesting the secular school: everyday nationalism and negotiations of Muslim childhoods. Children's Geographies.

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Abstract: Ideas of nationalism are (re)produced, materially and discursively, in the lives of children through schools’ actual and hidden curriculums that often exclude minorities and construct them as ‘the other’. However, the exclusion of religious minorities has been minimally explored in understanding nationalism and childhoods. Through fieldwork conducted at a government high school in Bangalore, India, I examine how ‘everyday nationalism’ is experienced and negotiated within schools by religious minorities. I foreground Muslim childhoods as they negotiate the double burden of exclusion; one through the practices of the school where secularism is enacted within ‘Hindu contextualism’ where Hindu symbols and rituals are cast as universal, and two through the stereotypes and ‘othering’ discourses about Indian Muslims. I show that though the school officially claims to adhere to a ‘secular’ ethos, many of its actual practices are contradictory to this claim. Pedagogically, there are specific aims reserved for the Muslim child to develop into a tolerant and inclusive citizen that belongs to the nation. I also show how children across religions become political actors in this space. While some absorb the ‘secular’ narratives, others absorb the dominant discourses of the Muslim being the ‘violent other’. Muslim children exercise their agentic capacities as they negotiate the school space with an awareness of the socio-political ramifications of being Muslim
Item Type: Journal Paper
Keywords: Education and India, Indian-Muslim Childhood, Religious Nationalism, Performing National Identity, Discourse, Religious Minority
Subjects: School of Social Sciences > Education
Divisions: Schools > Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2022 11:27
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 04:54
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    Funders: UNSPECIFIED
    Projects: UNSPECIFIED

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