AASA Roundtable proposal for MESA 2016
Boston, MA, Nov. 17-20.
Roundtable Title: “US Presidential Elections: Assessing Arab American Positionalities”
As has been the case for the previous 3 or 4 Presidential election cycles, Arabs, Muslims, and other Middle Eastern communities living in the U.S. have been the focus of debate questions, inflammatory rhetoric, and national security anxieties. The United States’ long history of economic, military, and cultural involvement in Arab countries, coupled with groundswells of fear against Arabs visiting, immigrating to, or living in the U.S. creates unique and often tenuous positions for Arab Americans during election cycles. During these times, the relatively small population of Arab Americans, roughly 1-2% of the total U.S. population, becomes the subject of media attention and fascination. Many Arab Americans are forced to annunciate and articulate their loyalties and thoughts on US foreign and domestic policy in ways that other ethnic groups are not. In some ways, this positioning is not new. Arab Americans have been dealing with political demonization since the 1960s, when military and economic tensions involving U.S. interests and allies in the Middle East began to heat up, and have developed institutionalized methods to respond to the scrutiny—mainly by forming advocacy and civil rights organizations and getting involved in political campaigns at the local, state, and federal level. The 2016 Presidential race, however, has been particularly inflammatory as it has featured more than one key issue that directly affects the Arab American community, including the Syrian refugee crisis, immigration and border control, national security tropes, and Islamophobia. The rhetoric during the run-up to the 2016 election has been some of the most openly venomous and violent towards Arabs, Muslims, and others perceived as foreign and dangerous. This roundtable will take stock of the positionality of Arab Americans vis-à-vis current and previous presidential elections from a range of perspectives.
Presentations in this panel may examine this topic from any angle.
by 13 February. Deadline for submission of abstracts to MESA 15 February.
Participants *must* pay MESA dues in order to submit an abstract—if the panel is accepted, participants must also pre-register for the meeting. Further information on pre-registration can be found here: http://www.mesana.org/annual-meeting/call-for-papers.html