By Carol Fadda-Conrey
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Extra info for Contemporary Arab-American Literature: Transnational Reconfigurations of Citizenship and Belonging
This revised language of citizenship and belonging as performed by contemporary Arab-American writers, artists, and cultural critics simultaneously reshapes the US landscape as a whole, ultimately offering new vistas for reimagining and reenacting US identities and the power structures they entail. 1 Such a weighty and incipient core (which can extend beyond Jerusalem to stand for various Arab locations) holds what Majaj calls the “traces [that] register at the deepest layers of consciousness” (88).
More than negotiating this version of Lebanon within the US space, Saliba tries to visit Lebanon in her effort to transcend the gaps and fissures propagated by her grandmother’s narrative of the Lebanese homeland. However, even after accessing her grandmother’s Lebanese passport to circumvent the ban on American travel to Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s, Saliba is still unable to reach reimagining the ancestr al ar ab homeland / 35 her grandmother’s homeland. In the summer of 1991, due to civil unrest and regional tensions, “too many borders seemed closed,” writes Saliba.
9 Instead, it opens up new vistas of belonging in the US, which create new understandings and maps of home by simultaneously laying claim to and transforming both the Arab and the American sides of Arab-American identities. Rather than pursue a chronological analysis of literary narratives shaping and giving voice to the ongoing development of Arab-American transnational belonging, and in order to delineate the continuance of certain concerns and the revision of others, this chapter and the book as a whole trace specific thematic threads that place side by side texts by an older generation of writers (who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s) alongside others by a younger generation (who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s).