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"Can't Say Fairer Than That' Nationalism, Fundamentalism and Religious Deal-Making in Zadie Smith's White Teeth"

"Can't Say Fairer Than That" Nationalism, Fundamentalism and Religious Deal-Making in Zadie Smith's White Teeth In this article I bring the deliberation of multiculturalism in Zadie Smith's novel White Teeth into critical pedagogy. I take as my starting point the role of "nation" within critical pedagogy. I call upon Homi Bhabha to discuss the conflict that comes from diverse cultures agreeing on a common set of values within a shared community, and how the failure of "merging into a new identity" results in a "particular ambivalence" that conceals diversified traits within the hybridity of a modern, multicultural national space. I focus on the marginalization of religious doctrines, employing Jose Cassanova's discourse on secularism as a product of globalization commonly associated with "the decline in religious beliefs and practices in modern societies," to demonstrate its alignment with a dominant ideological force that politicizes religion with concepts of intolerance and conflict. I situate this conversation within the lens of postcolonial study, proposing that failure of assimilation for Smith's immigrant protagonists fosters their enhanced religious commitment. I then expand on this idea to describe how Smith's novel depicts this loyalty as part of an abusive vicious cycle where religion becomes a shelter against racial discrimination for immigrants that consequently fuels the nativist's assertion of immigrants as religious fundamentalists. I conclude by arguing that White Teeth addresses religious radicalism in response to the tensions of a modern multicultural society.

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