Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

English (Literature)

Department or School/College

Department of English

Committee Chair

Eric Reimer

Commitee Members

Katie Kane, Samir Bitar


Fundamentalism, Globalization, Hinduism, Hybridity, India, Islam, Postcolonialism, Religion, Salman Rushdie, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Satanic Verses


University of Montana


In this study, I examine Salman Rushdie’s fiction within the critical framework of globalization studies. In particular, I focus on The Satanic Verses (1988) and The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995) in order to elucidate the specific ways in which Rushdie engages the promises and pitfalls of cultural globalization. In my introduction, I lay necessary important epistemological groundwork through my examination of hybridity and fundamentalism within a globalized context. Both terms, I suggest, describe significant responses to, and conditions brought about by, an increase in cultural contact and exchange in an increasingly interconnected world. In Chapter 1, I delineate the ways in which Rushdie valorizes hybridity in The Satanic Verses. Not only does Rushdie promote hybridity as a capable of assuaging the problems of migrancy, he makes his point through a sustained critique of the dogmatic and fundamentalist propensities of religion, especially Islam. In my second chapter, I explore The Moor’s Last Sigh for evidence of an ideological revision, on the part of Rushdie, regarding hybridity. His first major literary work following the Rushdie affair—an event precipitated by his treatment of Islam in The Satanic Verses—The Moor’s Last Sigh is in many ways less optimistic than its predecessor. However, I argue that Rushdie does not entirely dispense with his original claims; rather, he is wiser to the hazards of hybridity and multiculturalism, and he deploys modern India as test case for the ways in which these conditions are rendered vulnerable to misappropriation by Hindu fundamentalist regimes and, ultimately, the driving forces of global capitalism. In my conclusion, I briefly investigate a larger tendency, on the part of Rushdie, to resist totalizing views of the world. It is this tendency, I argue, that firmly situates Rushdie as an advocate of hybridity, but it also suggests that Rushdie’s search for coherence is actually quite similar to the main impetus for religious fundamentalism: an attempt to establish, or restore, a specific worldview to preeminence.

This record is only available
to users affiliated with
the University of Montana.

Request Access



© Copyright 2010 Matthew Henry