As Arab Americans seek to claim their communal identity and rightful place in American society at a time of heightened tension between the United States and the Middle East, an understanding look back at more than one hundred years of the Arab-American community is especially timely. In this book, Elizabeth Boosahda, a third-generation Arab American, draws on over two hundred personal interviews, as well as photographs and historical documents that are contemporaneous with the first generation of Arab Americans (Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians), both Christians and Muslims, who immigrated to the Americas between 1880 and 1915, and their descendants. Boosahda focuses on the Arab-American community in Worcester, Massachusetts, a major northeastern center for Arab immigration, and Worcester’s links to and similarities with Arab-American communities throughout North and South America. Using the voices of Arab immigrants and their families, she explores their entire experience, from emigration at the turn of the twentieth century to the present-day lives of their descendants. This rich documentation sheds light on many aspects of Arab-American life, including the Arab entrepreneurial motivation and success, family life, education, religious and community organizations, and the role of women in initiating immigration and the economic success they achieved.
Maxime Rodinson University of Chicago Press, 1981 Library of Congress DS36.7.R6213 | Dewey Decimal 909.04927
Maxime Rodinson has long been known in Europe as one of the foremost interpreters of Arab history and thought. In this concise overview of the Arab people and their distinctive culture, the author discusses the extend to which Arabs can be defined by religion, language, or race; surveys the Arab diaspora; examines modern Arab nationalism; and questions the degree to which it is possible to generalize about the Arab people and their "personality."
For many North Americans, Arab Americans are invisible, recalled only when words like "terrorism" or "anti-American sentiments" arise. However, people of Arab descent have been contributing to U. S. an d Canadian culture since the 1870s in fields as diverse as literature, science, politics, medicine, and commerce -- witness surgeon Michael DeBakey, former Oregon governor Victor Atiyeh, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, and Canadian M.P. Mac Harb. Yet while Arab American contributions to our society are significant and Arab Americans surpass the U.S. average in both education and economics, they still struggle for recognition and acceptance.
In this volume, editor Michael Suleiman brings together 21 prominent scholars from a wide range of perspectives -- including anthropology, economics, history, law, literature and culture, political science, and sociology -- to take a close look at the status of Arabs in North America. Topics range from the career of Arab American singer, dancer, and storyteller Wadeeha Atiyeh to a historical examination of Arab Americans and Zionism. The contributors discuss in Detroit, a group of well-educated Jordanian men, and the Shi'a Muslims -- to illustrate the range of Arab emigre experience. More broadly, they examine Arab American identity, political activism, and attempts by Arab immigrants to achieve respect and recognition in their new homes. They address both the present situation for Arab Americans and prospects for their future.
Arabs in America will engage anyone interested in Arab American studies, ethnic studies, and American studies.
What is an Arab? Though many in the West would answer that question with simplistic stereotypes, the reality is far more complex and interesting. Arabs themselves have been debating Arab identity since pre-Islamic times, coming to a variety of conclusions about the nature and extent of their “Arabness.” Likewise, Westerners and others have attempted to analyze Arab identity, reaching mostly negative conclusions about Arab culture and capacity for self-government. To bring new perspectives to the question of Arab identity, Iraqi-born scholar Nissim Rejwan has assembled this fascinating collection of writings by Arab and Western intellectuals, who try to define what it means to be Arab. He begins with pre-Islamic times and continues to the last decades of the twentieth century, quoting thinkers ranging from Ibn Khaldun to modern writers such as al-Ansari, Haykal, Ahmad Amin, al-'Azm, and Said. Through their works, Rejwan shows how Arabs have grappled with such significant issues as the influence of Islam, the rise of nationalism, the quest for democracy, women's status, the younger generation, Egypt's place in the Arab world, Israel's role in Middle Eastern conflict, and the West's “cultural invasion.” By letting Arabs speak for themselves, Arabs in the Mirror refutes a prominent Western stereotype—that Arabs are incapable of self-reflection or self-government. On the contrary, it reveals a rich tradition of self-criticism and self-knowledge in the Arab world.
Exploring how Algerian Jews responded to and appropriated France's newly conceived "civilizing mission" in the mid-nineteenth century, Arabs of the Jewish Faith shows that the ideology, while rooted in French Revolutionary ideals of regeneration, enlightenment, and emancipation, actually developed as a strategic response to the challenges of controlling the unruly and highly diverse populations of Algeria's coastal cities.
Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora traces the production and circulation of discourses about "the Middle East" across various cultural sites, against the historical backdrop of cross-Atlantic Mahjar flows. The book highlights the fraught and ambivalent situation of Arabs/Muslims in the Americas, where they are at once celebrated and demonized, integrated and marginalized, simultaneously invisible and spectacularly visible. The essays cover such themes as Arab hip-hop's transnational imaginary; gender/sexuality and the Muslim digital diaspora; patriotic drama and the media's War on Terror; the global negotiation of the Prophet Mohammad cartoons controversy; the Latin American paradoxes of Turcophobia/Turcophilia; the ambiguities of the bellydancing fad; French and American commodification of Rumi spirituality; the reception of Iranian memoirs as cultural domestication; and the politics of translation of Turkish novels into English. Taken together, the essays analyze the hegemonic discourses that position "the Middle East" as a consumable exoticized object, while also developing complex understandings of self-representation in literature, cinema/TV, music, performance, visual culture, and digital spaces. Charting the shifting significations of differing and overlapping forms of Orientalism, the volume addresses Middle Eastern diasporic practices from a transnational perspective that brings postcolonial cultural studies methods to bear on Arab American studies, Middle Eastern studies, and Latin American studies. Between the Middle East and the Americas disentangles the conventional separation of regions, moving beyond the binarist notion of "here" and "there" to imaginatively reveal the thorough interconnectedness of cultural geographies.
The Crucible of Islam
G. W. Bowersock Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress BP50.B69 2017 | Dewey Decimal 297.09021
Little is known about sixth-century Arabia. Yet from this distant time and place emerged a faith and an empire that stretched from Iberia to India. G. W. Bowersock illuminates this obscure yet most dynamic period in Islam, exploring why arid Arabia proved to be fertile ground for Muhammad’s message and why it spread so quickly to the wider world.
In this time of global instability and widespread violence, Albert Memmi—author of the highly influential and groundbreaking work The Colonizer and the Colonized—turns his attention to the present-day situation of formerly colonized peoples. In Decolonization and the Decolonized, Memmi expands his intellectual engagement with the subject and examines the manifold causes of the failure of decolonization efforts throughout the world.As outspoken and controversial as ever, Memmi initiates a much-needed discussion of the ex-colonized and refuses to idealize those who are too often painted as hapless victims. He shows how, in light of a radically changed world, it would be problematic—and even irresponsible—to continue to deploy concepts that were useful and valid during the period of anticolonial struggle.Decolonization and the Decolonized contributes to the most current debates on Islamophobia in France, the “new” anti-Semitism, and the unrelenting poverty gripping the African continent. Memmi, who is Jewish, was born and raised in Tunis, and focuses primarily on what he calls the Arab-Muslim condition, while also incorporating comparisons with South America, Asia, Black Africa, and the United States. In Decolonization and the Decolonized, Memmi has written that rare book—a manifesto informed by intellect and animated by passion—that will propel public analysis of the most urgent global issues to a new level.Albert Memmi is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Paris, Nanterre, and the author of Racism (Minnesota, 1997).Robert Bononno, a teacher and translator, lives in New York City.
Joseph A. Massad University of Chicago Press, 2007 Library of Congress DS36.77.M38 2007 | Dewey Decimal 306.709174927
Sexual desire has long played a key role in Western judgments about the value of Arab civilization. In the past, Westerners viewed the Arab world as licentious, and Western intolerance of sex led them to brand Arabs as decadent; but as Western society became more sexually open, the supposedly prudish Arabs soon became viewed as backward. Rather than focusing exclusively on how these views developed in the West, in Desiring Arabs Joseph A. Massad reveals the history of how Arabs represented their own sexual desires. To this aim, he assembles a massive and diverse compendium of Arabic writing from the nineteenth century to the present in order to chart the changes in Arab sexual attitudes and their links to Arab notions of cultural heritage and civilization.
A work of impressive scope and erudition, Massad’s chronicle of both the history and modern permutations of the debate over representations of sexual desires and practices in the Arab world is a crucial addition to our understanding of a frequently oversimplified and vilified culture.
“A pioneering work on a very timely yet frustratingly neglected topic. . . . I know of no other study that can even begin to compare with the detail and scope of [this] work.”—Khaled El-Rouayheb, Middle EastReport
“In Desiring Arabs, [Edward] Said’s disciple Joseph A. Massad corroborates his mentor’s thesis that orientalist writing was racist and dehumanizing. . . . [Massad] brilliantly goes on to trace the legacy of this racist, internalized, orientalist discourse up to the present.”—Financial Times
Theologian, philosopher, and political radical, Martin Buber (1878–1965) was actively committed to a fundamental economic and political reconstruction of society as well as the pursuit of international peace. In his voluminous writings on Arab-Jewish relations in Palestine, Buber united his religious and philosophical teachings with his politics, which he felt were essential to a life of public dialogue and service to God.
Collected in ALand of Two Peoples are the private and open letters, addresses, and essays in which Buber advocated binationalism as a solution to the conflict in the Middle East. A committed Zionist, Buber steadfastly articulated the moral necessity for reconciliation and accommodation between the Arabs and Jews. From the Balfour Declaration of November 1917 to his death in 1965, he campaigned passionately for a "one state solution.
With the Middle East embroiled in religious and ethnic chaos, A Land of Two Peoples remains as relevant today as it was when it was first published more than twenty years ago. This timely reprint, which includes a new preface by Paul Mendes-Flohr, offers context and depth to current affairs and will be welcomed by those interested in Middle Eastern studies and political theory.
For more than a century, urban North Africans have sought to protect and revive Andalusi music, a prestigious Arabic-language performance tradition said to originate in the “lost paradise” of medieval Islamic Spain. Yet despite the Andalusi repertoire’s enshrinement as the national classical music of postcolonial North Africa, its devotees continue to describe it as being in danger of disappearance. In The Lost Paradise, Jonathan Glasser explores the close connection between the paradox of patrimony and the questions of embodiment, genealogy, secrecy, and social class that have long been central to Andalusi musical practice.
Through a historical and ethnographic account of the Andalusi music of Algiers, Tlemcen, and their Algerian and Moroccan borderlands since the end of the nineteenth century, Glasser shows how anxiety about Andalusi music’s disappearance has emerged from within the practice itself and come to be central to its ethos. The result is a sophisticated examination of musical survival and transformation that is also a meditation on temporality, labor, colonialism and nationalism, and the relationship of the living to the dead.
In 1933 American oilmen representing what later became the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) signed a concession agreement with the Saudi Arabian king granting the company sole proprietorship over the oil reserves in the country's largest province. As drilling commenced and wells proliferated, Aramco soon became a major presence in the region. In this book Chad H. Parker tells Aramco's story, showing how an American company seeking resources and profits not only contributed to Saudi "nation building" but helped define U.S. foreign policy during the early Cold War.
In the years following World War II, as Aramco expanded its role in Saudi Arabia, the idea of "modernization" emerged as a central component of American foreign policy toward newly independent states. Although the company engaged in practices supportive of U.S. goals, its own modernizing efforts tended to be pragmatic rather than policy-driven, more consistent with furthering its business interests than with validating abstract theories. Aramco built the infrastructure necessary to extract oil and also carved an American suburb out of the Arabian desert, with all the air-conditioned comforts of Western modern life. At the same time, executives cultivated powerful relationships with Saudi government officials and, to the annoyance of U.S. officials, even served the monarchy in diplomatic disputes. Before long the company became the principal American diplomatic, political, and cultural agent in the country, a role it would continue to play until 1973, when the Saudi government took over its operation.
America's approach to terrorism has focused on traditional national security methods, under the assumption that terrorism's roots are foreign and the solution to greater security lies in conventional practices. Europe offers a different model, with its response to internal terrorism relying on police procedures.
Managing Ethnic Diversity after 9/11 compares these two strategies and considers that both may have engendered greater radicalization--and a greater chance of home-grown terrorism. Essays address how transatlantic countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands have integrated ethnic minorities, especially Arabs and Muslims, since 9/11. Discussing the "securitization of integration," contributors argue that the neglect of civil integration has challenged the rights of these minorities and has made greater security more remote.
Migration from the Middle East brought hundreds of thousands of people to the Americas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By the time the Ottoman political system collapsed in 1918, over a third of the population of the Mashriq, i.e. the Levant, had made the transatlantic journey. This intense mobility was interrupted by World War I but resumed in the 1920s and continued through the late 1940s under the French Mandate. Many migrants returned to their homelands, but the rest concentrated in Brazil, Argentina, the United States, Haiti, and Mexico, building transnational lives. The Mexican Mahjar provides the first global history of Middle Eastern migrations to Mexico. Making unprecedented use of French colonial archives and historical ethnography, Camila Pastor examines how French colonial control over Syria and Lebanon affected the migrants. Tracing issues of class, race, and gender through the decades of increased immigration to Mexico and looking at the narratives created by the Mahjaris (migrants) themselves in both their old and new homes, Pastor sheds new light on the creation of transnational networks at the intersection of Arab, French, and Mexican colonial modernisms. Revealing how migrants experienced mobility as conquest, diaspora, exile, or pilgrimage, The Mexican Mahjar tracks global history on an intimate scale.
This volume opens the canon of modern Jewish thought to the all too often overlooked writings of Jews from the Arab East, from the close of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. Whether they identified as Sephardim, Mizrahim, anticolonialists, or Zionists, these thinkers engaged the challenges and transformations of Middle Eastern Jewry in this decisive period. Moshe Behar and Zvi Ben-Dor Benite present Jewish culture and politics situated within overlapping Arabic, Islamic, and colonial contexts. The editors invite the reader to reconsider contemporary evocations of Levantine, Mizrahi, and Arab Jewish identities against the backdrop of writings by earlier Middle Eastern Jewish intellectuals who critically assessed or contested the implications of Western presence and Western Jewish presence in the Middle East; religion and secularization; and the rise of nationalism, communism, and Zionism, as well as the State of Israel.
Focusing on Oriental Jews and their relations with their Arab neighbors in Mandatory Palestine, this book analyzes the meaning of the hybrid Arab-Jewish identity that existed among Oriental Jews, and discusses their unique role as political, social, and cultural mediators between Jews and Arabs. Integrating Mandatory Palestine and its inhabitants into the contemporary Semitic-Levantine surroundings, Oriental Neighbors illuminates broad areas of cooperation and coexistence, which coincided with conflict and friction, between Oriental and Sephardi Jews and their Arab neighbors. The book brings the Oriental Jewish community to the fore, examines its role in the Zionist nation-building process, and studies its diverse and complex links with the Arab community in Palestine.
The aftermath of Algeria’s revolutionary war for independence coincided with the sexual revolution in France, and in this book Todd Shepard argues that these two movements are inextricably linked.
Sex, France, and Arab Men is a history of how and why—from the upheavals of French Algeria in 1962 through the 1970s—highly sexualized claims about Arabs were omnipresent in important public French discussions, both those that dealt with sex and those that spoke of Arabs. Shepard explores how the so-called sexual revolution took shape in a France profoundly influenced by the ongoing effects of the Algerian revolution. Shepard’s analysis of both events alongside one another provides a frame that renders visible the ways that the fight for sexual liberation, usually explained as an American and European invention, developed out of the worldwide anticolonial movement of the mid-twentieth century.
Middle Eastern immigration to Mexico is one of the intriguing, untold stories in the history of both regions. In So Far from Allah, So Close to Mexico, Theresa Alfaro-Velcamp presents the fascinating findings of her extensive fieldwork in Mexico as well as in Lebanon and Syria, which included comprehensive data collection from more than 8,000 original immigration cards as well as studies of decades of legal publications and the collection of historiographies from descendents of Middle Eastern immigrants living in Mexico today. Adding an important chapter to studies of the Arab diaspora, Alfaro-Velcamp’s study shows that political instability in both Mexico and the Middle East kept many from fulfilling their dreams of returning to their countries of origin after realizing wealth in Mexico, in a few cases drawing on an imagined Phoenician past to create a class of economically powerful Lebanese Mexicans. She also explores the repercussions of xenophobia in Mexico, the effect of religious differences, and the impact of key events such as the Mexican Revolution. Challenging the post-revolutionary definitions of mexicanidad and exposing new aspects of the often contradictory attitudes of Mexicans toward foreigners, So Far from Allah, So Close to Mexico should spark timely dialogues regarding race and ethnicity, and the essence of Mexican citizenship.
In this remarkable work by seasoned scholar Lawrence Rosen, we follow the fascinating intellectual developments of four ordinary Moroccans over the span of forty years. Walking and talking with Haj Hamed Britel, Yaghnik Driss, Hussein Qadir, and Shimon Benizri—in a country that, in a little over a century, has gone from an underdeveloped colonial outpost to a modern Arab country in the throes of economic growth and religious fervor—Rosen details a fascinating plurality of viewpoints on culture, history, and the ways both can be dramatically transformed.
Through the intellectual lives of these four men, this book explores a number of interpretative and theoretical issues that have made Arab culture distinct, especially in relationship to the West: how nothing is ever hard and fast, how everything is relational and always a product of negotiation. It showcases the vitality of the local in a global era, and it contrasts Arab notions of time, equality, and self with those in the West. Likewise, Rosen unveils his own entanglement in their world and the drive to keep the analysis of culture first and foremost, even as his own life enmeshes itself in those of his study. An exploration of faith, politics, history, and memory, this book highlights the world of everyday life in Arab society in ways that challenge common notions and stereotypes.