Friday, February 22, 2013

What is Ray Taras reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Ray Taras, author of Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe.

His entry begins:
I’m still curious why a couple of years ago, at the height of the Eurozone crisis, so many disparaging attacks were leveled at Greece that went well beyond its alleged economic mismanagement. I trust novelists more than political economists to provide truthful accounts of harsh realities, so I turned to one of Greece’s foremost writers, Rhea Galanaki, for a narrative illuminating its recent past.

Eleni, or Nobody tells us about the dual lives – one as a woman artist, the other as a woman in male disguise – lived by nineteenth-century painter Eleni Altamura-Boukoura. Through Eleni’s schizophrenic behavior we can follow Greece’s own struggle for national identity and how transnational encounters, in this case with Italy, can be both constructive and harmful.

A very well-written and well-translated novel, it raises two other important subjects. One is...[read on]
About Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe, from the publisher:
European anti-Muslim attitudes: the voice of public protest against out-of-touch elites? Are anti-Muslim attitudes becoming the spectre that is haunting Europe? Is Islamophobia as widespread and virulent as is made out? Or do some EU societies appear more prejudiced than others? And is there an anti-elitest dimension to Europeans' protest about rapid demographic change occurring in their countries? This cross-national analysis of Islamophobia looks at these questions in an innovative, even-handed way, steering clear of politically-correct clichés and stereotypes. It cautions that Islamophobia is a serious threat to European values and norms, and must be tackled by future immigration and integration policy.
Learn more about Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe at the Columbia University Press website.

Ray Taras is a New Orleans author who directed Tulane University's World Literature Program until Hurricane Katrina forced its closure. Comparative literature and world cinema have been teaching and research interests of his for many years.

The Page 99 Test: Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe.

Writers Read: Ray Taras.

--Marshal Zeringue