Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
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This book was born collectively, through ongoing relations with friends, colleagues, and activists. Yet ultimately, I take full responsibility for the content and any errors on the pages that follow. First and foremost, I acknowledge with deep respect and gratitude each person who participated in m...
Introduction: Articulating Arabness
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was born in San Francisco, three years after my parents arrived to the United States from Jordan.1 Over the next twenty years, my family moved several times across the Bay Area, creating for me a childhood and a sense of community that was both rigidly structured and ever changing. Throughout my childhood, “culture” felt like a tool..
1. From Model Minority to Problem Minority
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In the 1990s, Arab immigrants who had come to the Bay Area between the ’50s and the ’70s spoke about their early years in America with a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of conventional immigrant stories. They dwelled on positive experiences about their homelands and idealized their first years in their new country. Yet these immigrants had a distinct story about the past and the present—one that sheds...
2. The Politics of Cultural Authenticity
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Arab culture is about being a certain way; knowing what is abe (shameful); knowing how to give mujamalat (flattery); knowing what you’re supposed to do when someone greets you; knowing how to act at azayim (gatherings) and weddings; drinking , shai (tea) or coffee; talking about politics so much; getting up for an older person; respecting your elders; looking after your parents and taking care...
3. Muslim First, Arab Second
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Rima: One of the Arab sisters who married a Black Muslim opened the Qur’an in her father’s face and said, “Look, it says here, as long as he’s a good Muslim.” [Her father] wasn’t practicing true Islam. If he did, life would be a lot different. Mohammed: Next week, a movie is going to come out of Hollywood . . . called Executive Decision. It’s a blatant...
4. Dirty Laundry
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Aisha: When I graduated from college, I worked for Global Exchange, a soft-left human rights organization in San Francisco, but constantly bumped into limitations with the American liberal line on Palestine. They wanted to focus only on oversimplified human rights abuses but not about the colonial devastation in the Middle East and...
5. Diasporic Feminist Anti-Imperialism
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In 2000, Raya, Dahlia, Yara, Aisha, and I were involved in the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association, San Francisco chapter (AWSA SF), which was working closely with LAM. During this time, AWSA SF activists made a postcard to distribute at various political events. One side included information about the U.S. sanctions on Iraq. The other side had an artistic image with the words “the Arab Women’s Solidarity...
Conclusion: Toward a Diasporic Feminist Critique
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Throughout this book we have witnessed what young adults are saying about the predicaments of Arab diasporas in the United States at the turn of the twenty-first century. We have seen the continuities and discontinuities between what takes place within themselves, their families, and their communities and the ways they engage with the United States at large. Like so many diasporic communities, Arab...
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About the Author
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Nadine Naber is Associate Professor in the Program in American Culture and the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. She is co-editor...
Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2012