Arab/Americas: Locations and Iterations
In her introduction to her path-breaking book, Bint Arab, Evelyn Shakir notes that most of the Arab immigrants and children of immigrants of her generation from the 1910s and 1920s called themselves “Syrian,” then repackaged themselves as “Lebanese” in the 1940s, only to recast themselves in the 1960s as “Arabs.” This special issue of Amerasia aims to explore the multiplicity of ways that the category “Arab American” is conceptualized, voiced, elided, or ignored. Specifically, it encourages attention to the multiplicity of ways that Arabness is expressed, mobilized, and disavowed in different Asian American and American contexts, whether political, social, artistic, or legal, and we wish to consider ways in which “Arabness” is configured at different times and in different places across the Americas, including how “Arabness” is configured in relation to “Asianness” in the Americas.
From early twentieth century assertions of the whiteness of Syrians in the United States and Latin America to the most recent racialization and conflation of Arabs and Muslims in the United States, Arabness is at times vilified, at times ignored, but also, and sometimes simultaneously, envisioned in heterogeneous and creative ways. Whether in the locally-inflected Midwest of Mohja Kahf’s work, the Québécois of Abla Farhoud’s plays, or the Brazilian framework of Alberto Mussa’s novels, Arabness is variously articulated and located, sometimes in a mythical or mystical past, sometimes within geographical or cultural boundaries, and at times imbricated in highly localized spaces such as the Brooklyn of Suheir Hammad’s poems. Identifications with Arabness have also aligned with Asian American organizing in interesting and under-theorized ways, most notably around issues of exclusion, internment, and citizenship.
This special issue of Amerasia asks: How have Arab Americans articulated their own visions of America/Amreeka, of Arab locales, and of themselves in relation to others? How are the dominant images of Arabness subverted and redirected during moments of heightened Islamophobia and global Orientalism, and how do these strategies draw on, ignore, or reconfigure previous iterations of Arabness in relation to others, particularly Asians, in America? What new insights can be revealed by placing Arab American Studies in relation to Asian American Studies?
We encourage submissions that explore these questions from historical, sociological, literary and interdisciplinary perspectives. We are particularly interested in new approaches to archival material informed by transnational, race, religion, queer, and feminist studies, as well as critical insights into creative expressions, whether in cinema, literature, or art.
PLEASE SUBMIT PAPERS BY September 1, 2017
Submission Guidelines and Review Process:
The guest editors, in consultation with the Amerasia Journal editors and peer reviewers, make the decisions on which submissions will be included in the special issue. The process is as follows:
- Initial review of submitted papers by guest editors and Amerasia Journal editorial staff
- Papers approved by editors will undergo blind peer review
- Revision of accepted peer‐reviewed papers and final submission.
- Publication of papers in April, 2018
All correspondences should refer to “Amerasia Journal Arab/Americas Issue” in the subject line. Please send inquiries and manuscripts to Dr. Sarah Gualtieri (email@example.com), Dr. Pauline Homsi Vinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Arnold Pan, Associate Editor (email@example.com).