Abstract

Through a consideration of desert romances (mass-market romances whose hero is a sultan, sheikh, or desert prince), this essay argues that the racialization of Arabs and Muslims in contemporary popular culture operates by conflating ethnicity, religion, geography, and the notion of civilization. As the racialization of actual Arabs and Muslims in the global North has become more overt, the representational racialization of sheikhs in desert romances has become more covert. Ironically, precisely because romance novels must protect the fantasy narrative by submerging any overt references to race, they are useful for exploring the shifting meanings of race vis-à-vis Arabs and Muslims.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 895-928
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-06
Open Access
No
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