Contemporary Arab American Women Writers: Hyphenated Identities and Border Crossings

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Keith Booker. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Louis, April She also served as vice president of the Faculty Senate in as well as president of the national Women's Caucus of the Modern Languages in After earning her Ph.

Arab American Women

Thomas, and Virginia Woolf. Over the years, she has designed and taught a great variety of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of post-World War II American and British literature, women's literature, literary theory, and creative writing. Moreover, she has directed to completion nine dissertations and is currently directing three more.

In addition, she has served on numerous committees at all levels of the university as well as provided service to the profession-for example, by reviewing scholarly manuscripts for journals and presses. Finding libraries that hold this item You may have already requested this item. Please select Ok if you would like to proceed with this request anyway.

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Contemporary Arab American Women Writers

The E-mail Address es field is required. Please enter recipient e-mail address es. The E-mail Address es you entered is are not in a valid format. Please re-enter recipient e-mail address es. You may send this item to up to five recipients. Returning Home: Return Narratives and the Shift in a Hyphenated Identity The enduring third space which exists between the Arab homeland and the American hostland is exacerbated by the return to the Arab homeland. That is to say, Saudi Arabia is the Arab country which holds the highest spiritual significance for many Muslims.

Despite the fact that Karim specifically refers to the diasporic memoirs of Bahrampour and Moaveni, the aforesaid discussion of the return narrative can be applied to The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf as the novel contends with the problematizations of returning to the Arab homeland. The novel also draws a distinction between an emotional metaphorical return narrative and a physical return narrative. Khadra experiences an emotional return home with the memories of Syria that, in many ways, haunt her life in America.

The emotional memories of her homeland are still alive in Khadra as she tries to grapple with her in-between, hyphenated identity.

The depiction also suggests the gustatory and visual cues that ignite her nostalgia for her Arab homeland. In addition to constructing an emotional return home, Kahf constructs physical returns to the Arab homeland. As the plane takes off for Saudi Arabia, Ebtehaj does not feel the same sense of resistance to America that she felt earlier in her journey. Nonetheless, the third space is also eternally in transition, for example as Ebtehaj continues to grapple with traditional Islamic values in contrast to the liberalism in American culture.

Moreover, the fear of losing Islamic values permeates the Muslim part of her hyphenated Muslim American identity. Following her trip to Saudi Arabia, Khadra becomes cognizant that this holy place of Islamic worship is not how she envisioned it to be. She learns that it is unconventional in Saudi Arabia for women to pray in mosques, which causes her a great deal of confusion She pressed her nose against the airplane window.

The lights of Indianapolis spread out on the dark earth beneath the jet. Khadra nonetheless expresses great trepidation at the prospect of returning to Indianapolis in her adulthood The Failure to Reconcile a Religious Identity in the Arab American Hostland While Ebtehaj and Khadra become cognizant that America is now their home, they ultimately fail in trying to reconcile their Muslim identity with their sense of Americanism to come to fruition in their American hostland.


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Ultimately, this in-between third space does not lead to a reconciled religious identity but rather a hyphenated identity in permanent transition. Her father had done so, many times, through years of Dawah work.

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But her mother had been reluctant. These were new horizons.


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Ebtehaj embraces her identity as a Muslim who works for the cause of Islam at the Dawah Center, but she also embraces her American identity by evolving and allowing herself to sit with other men, something she would have deemed untraditional for a Muslim woman at an earlier stage in her journey. Ebtehaj thus embraces her hyphenated identity, as she fails to reconcile her Arab and Muslim identity. Moreover, this passage underscores the inevitable nature of forming a hyphenated identity in the Arab American diaspora and the difficulty of reconciling an Arab and Muslim identity that is purged of a sense of Americanism.

The failure to reconcile a religious identity in the American diaspora is also echoed in Khadra, whose state of in-betweenness is a particularly contested site of cultural transition. Rather, she feels just as exiled from Indiana as she does from Syria.

Years after her failed marriage to Juma, Khadra returns to Indiana.

Looking for the exit sign that will lead her back to horrible little Simmonsville. Ultimately, Khadra is unable to reconcile her Arab and Muslim identity with her American identity. Rather, she embodies a hyphenated, fragmented identity. In the culminating moments of the narrative, Khadra captures photographical moments of Hanifa driving a race car.