A Nation of Narrations: Religion, Hegemony, & Self-identification in Arab American Literature

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dc.contributor.author Yaghi, Adam
dc.date.accessioned 2015-12-21T21:55:24Z
dc.date.available 2016-12-04T12:22:07Z
dc.date.copyright 2015 en_US
dc.date.issued 2015-12-21
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/6970
dc.description.abstract This research investigates the intersection of religion, self-identification, and imperialism in a number of Arab American literary works. It engages a wide array of, and contributes to, scholarship from American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Islamic Studies, Global Studies, and Transnational Literary Theory. The project examines two groups of writers: the first group consists of American cultural conservatives of Arab or Muslim descent, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nonie Darwish, Bridgette Gabrielle, and Wafa Sultan, while the second includes Arab American literary writers Mohja Kahf, Leila Ahmed, Ibrahim Fawal, and Alia Yunis. The former employ the traditional autobiography genre to produce master narratives, while the latter utilize the memoir, novel, and short-story cycle genres to challenge hegemonies and master narratives. The cultural conservatives, I contend, belong to a growing transnational body of writers whose phenomenon constitutes an extension of what Matthew F. Jacobs calls an “informal network” of transnational self-identified specialists (4). In their autobiographies, Ali, Gabrielle, Darwish, and Sultan concentrate on the Middle East, Muslims, and Arabs, but they are unique in the sense that their policy-oriented personal narratives explicitly seek to influence not only American attitudes and practices aimed at Arabs and Muslims, but also those directed at American citizens of Arab or Muslim descent. Furthermore, their culturally-conservative traditional autobiographies Infidel (2007), Nomad (2010), Heretic (2015), Now They Call Me Infidel (2006), Because They Hate (2006), They Must Be Stopped (2008), and A God Who Hates (2009) deem American multiculturalism a serious danger to the United States and the West, a thesis not unlike Samuel P. Huntington’s in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996). In this research project, I claim that Arab American literary writers have had to face, and write against, the predominance of this old-new clash of civilizations idea which has evolved into a discourse promulgated by the self-identified experts of the “informal network” and the cultural conservatives of Arab or Muslim descent. The Arab American literary novels, memoirs, and short-story cycles my study closely examines trouble the clash of civilizations discourse. Kahf’s The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (2006), Ahmed’s A Border Passage (1999), Fawal’s On the Hills of God (1998), and Yunis’s The Night Counter (2009) are arguably representative of trends in, though not limited to, the contemporary Arab American memoir, novel, and short-story cycle genres and are best understood as literary writing within the context of this broader American tradition of interpreting the Middle East, Arabs, and Muslims and the specific cultural conservative fixation on Arab and Muslim Americans. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.subject Arab American Literature en_US
dc.subject Cultural Conservatives en_US
dc.subject Clash of Civilizations en_US
dc.subject Religion en_US
dc.subject Imperialism en_US
dc.subject Self-identification en_US
dc.subject Leila Ahmed en_US
dc.subject Ibrahim Fawal en_US
dc.subject Alia Yunis en_US
dc.subject Mohja Kahf en_US
dc.subject Ayaan Hirsi Ali en_US
dc.subject Nonie Darwish en_US
dc.subject Bridgette Gabrielle en_US
dc.subject Wafa Sultan en_US
dc.title A Nation of Narrations: Religion, Hegemony, & Self-identification in Arab American Literature en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Douglas, Christopher
dc.degree.department Department of English en_US
dc.degree.level Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation “Popular Testimonial Literature by American Cultural Conservatives of Arab or Muslim Descent: Narrating the Self, Translating (an)Other.” Middle East Critique 25.1 (2016). Forthcoming. en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation “‘There Is No Book Where the World Is Written Down. The World Is That Book’”: McCarthy’s Blood Meridian on the Nature of Recorded History and Totalizing Narratives.” South Dakota Review 52.1 (2015): 76-91. en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation “Terror in the French Republic: Competing Performances and the Prospect of Social Justice.” Catalyst: A Social Justice Forum 5.1(2015). en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation “On the Altar of ISIS: Difference, Plurality, and the Roots of Contemporary Violence in the Middle East.” Just Peace Diplomacy Journal (November 9, Summer 2014): 1-18. en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US

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