Contemporary Arab-American Literature: Transnational by Carol Fadda-Conrey

By Carol Fadda-Conrey

The final couple of many years have witnessed a flourishing of Arab-American literature throughout a number of genres. but, elevated curiosity during this literature is sarcastically paralleled through a widely used bias opposed to Arabs and Muslims that portrays their lengthy presence within the US as a contemporary and unwelcome phenomenon. Spanning the Nineties to the current, Carol Fadda-Conrey takes within the sweep of literary and cultural texts by way of Arab-American writers to be able to comprehend the ways that their depictions of Arab homelands, no matter if real or imagined, play an important function in shaping cultural articulations people citizenship and belonging. by means of saying themselves inside of a US framework whereas keeping connections to their homelands, Arab-Americans contest the blanket representations of themselves as dictated via the U.S. countryside.
Deploying a multidisciplinary framework on the intersection of Middle-Eastern experiences, US ethnic stories, and diaspora reports, Fadda-Conrey argues for a transnational discourse that overturns the usually inflexible affiliations embedded in ethnic labels. Tracing the shifts in transnational views, from the founders of Arab-American literature, like Gibran Kahlil Gibran and Ameen Rihani, to fashionable writers akin to Naomi Shihab Nye, Joseph Geha, Randa Jarrar, and Suheir Hammad, Fadda-Conrey reveals that modern Arab-American writers depict powerful but complicated attachments to the USA panorama. She explores how the assumption of house is negotiated among immigrant mom and dad and next generations, along analyses of texts that paintings towards fostering extra nuanced understandings of Arab and Muslim identities within the wake of post-9/11 anti-Arab sentiments.

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Extra info for Contemporary Arab-American Literature: Transnational Reconfigurations of Citizenship and Belonging

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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).

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