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Coming of Age in the War on Terror

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*Shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2022: Multicultural NSW Award*

‘One minute you’re a 15-year-old girl who loves Netflix and music and the next minute you’re looked at as maybe ISIS.’

We now have a generation – Muslim and non-Muslim – who has grown up only knowing a world at war on terror, and who has been socialised in a climate of widespread Islamophobia, surveillance and suspicion.

In Coming of Age in the War on Terror, award-winning writer Randa Abdel-Fattah interrogates the impact of all this on young people’s political consciousness and their trust towards adults and the societies they live in. Drawing on local interviews but global in scope, this book is the first to examine the lives of a generation for whom the rise of the far-right and the growing polarisation of politics seem normal. It’s about time we hear what they have to say.

Insightful ... This is a work of sociology, and the author carefully prepares her theoretical architecture. Drawing on everyone from Indigenous Australian author Aileen Moreton-Robertson to Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, Abdel-Fattah focuses on the everyday work that race performs — its “common-sense, taken-for-granted quality” (22) — and organises the book around different “inventories” of its impacts. Coming of Age meticulously sculpts these philosophical and theoretical approaches around the words of her young informants, demonstrating what she dubs the “practical ideologies” that inform their engagement with the world around them.'

Jon Piccini, Journal of Australian Studies

As one of Australia's most compelling cultural critics, Abdel-Fattah curates a precise and substantive account of the impact of 'terrorist discourse' on an entire generation.'

Daniel Nour, Books+Publishing

Whoever you are, read it and it'll make a better Australian out of you.'

Ghassan Hage, Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory, School of Social and Political Science, University of Melbourne