Arab American Studies Association

Extended Deadline for Special Issue of Amerasia

AMERASIA JOURNAL CALL FOR PAPERS – ARAB/AMERICAS 

Extended Deadline of September 30

Guest Editors: Dr. Sarah Gualtieri (USC) and Dr. Pauline Homsi Vinson (Diablo Valley College)

Publication Date: Spring 2018

Paper submissions (6,000 – 7,000 words, inclusive of endnotes) now due September 30, 2017

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 30, 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 (gualtier@usc.edu), Dr. Pauline Homsi Vinson (pvinson@dvc.edu) and Dr. Arnold Pan, Associate Editor (arnoldpan@ucla.edu).

In Memoriam: Dr. Jack Shaheen

The Arab American Studies Association board is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Jack Shaheen. Dr. Shaheen had an immense and enduring impact on our field and touched many of our lives and intellectual pursuits personally. His dedication to illuminating and challenging the pervasive and harmful stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims in the media was unwavering. He was full of kindness and generosity. We are holding Dr. Shaheen’s family in our thoughts and prayers.
For a touching tribute to Dr. Shaheen, please read this reflection by our former board member and media specialist, Dr. Evelyn Alsultany:

 

Dr. Jack Shaheen Established an Entire Field of Study

1935-2017

July 11, 2017

My personal experience with Dr. Shaheen is a testament to his generosity and kindness as a scholar and mentor as well as his accomplishments and legacy for the field of Arab American Media Studies.

This narrative itself emerges from a moment during one of two interviews I was fortunate enough to conduct with Dr. Shaheen, once via Skype at an Arab American Civil Rights conference in Dearborn, Michigan, organized by the National Network of Arab American Communities in 2015, and once at the University of Michigan in 2016.

Towards the end of the 2015 interview, I asked him if there was something he wanted to discuss that we hadn’t covered. He smiled and said: “Tell them how we met.” So, let me tell you how we met and how he became such an important figure for me and for the field. My connection with Dr. Shaheen began when I applied in 2003 for the Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarship Award, which I learned about from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The scholarship supports Arab American students working in media or communication.

At the time, I was a graduate student, having started a Ph.D. at Stanford University in 1999 with the goal of studying the field of Arab and Muslim American Studies and putting these groups in conversation with U.S. race and ethnic studies, an unusual undertaking at the time given the common assumption that Arabs and Muslims were to be studied outside of the U.S. context.

After 9/11, my research began to focus on the politics of media representations. Doing my research, I discovered that while little had been written on representations of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. media, two ground-breaking books — both by Dr. Shaheen — had laid what would become the foundation for the field of Arab American Media Studies. In The TV Arab, published in 1984, Dr. Shaheen examined police dramas, sit-coms, and documentaries — more than 100 different popular entertainment programs, on network, independent and public channels in the mid-1970s. He revealed four basic myths about Arabs: they were stereotyped as being fabulously wealthy, barbaric and uncultured, sex maniacs with a penchant for white slavery, and reveling in acts of terrorism. In Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, published in 2001, Dr. Shaheen documented in alphabetical order virtually every Hollywood film that has depicted or referenced Arabs — almost 1,000 films between 1896 and 2001. Yes, he had watched every single one of them — I asked him once. He showed that according to Hollywood, Arab men were “brute murderers, sleazy rapists, religious fanatics, oil-rich dimwits, and abusers of women.” The Arab man on screen usually had a black beard, wore a headdress and dark sunglasses, and had a limousine, harem girls, oil wells or camels in the background. Alternately, he brandished an automatic weapon, prayed to Allah and then committed an act of senseless terrorism. Arab women were usually harem girls, belly dancers, oppressed, veiled women, and, occasionally, terrorists. Out of these 1,000 films, he characterized approximately 50 as evenhanded and only 12 as containing positive representations of Arabs. In this encyclopedic work, he revealed Hollywood’s systematic, pervasive, and unapologetic degradation and dehumanization of an entire people. Reel Bad Arabs, the book, became a documentary film in 2006. It’s a fantastic educational tool that I use in the classroom every year.

I did not get that scholarship, but received a handwritten note in the mail from Dr. Shaheen — yes, a handwritten note. He explained that I deserved the scholarship but did not receive it because I was not majoring in mass communications or media studies and therefore was not eligible for the award. In this kind note, an early sign of his generosity, he also wrote, “If in any way I can assist with the dissertation, please call on me,” and gave me his phone number.

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Shaheen traveled to San Francisco, where we met for the first time; we remained in regular contact ever since. He became a mentor, advising me on research, sending relevant opportunities my way, and always reminding me to enjoy life. Over the years, it became apparent that he loved meeting students and discussing with them all the latest films and TV shows that depicted Arabs and Muslims. He also loved mentoring young people in the field and helping them network.

I also had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Shaheen on a project. From 2007-2010, I worked with him when he served as a consultant on the Reclaiming Identity: Dismantling Arab Stereotypes online exhibit at the Arab American Museum in Dearborn, for which I served as the guest curator. His expertise in the area was invaluable to the exhibit, and it was a privilege to work with him.

In 2012, nine years after our first communication, Dr. Shaheen recognized me for my work in the field through the Jack G. and Bernice Shaheen Achievement Award, presented at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee annual convention. This moment brought me full circle to that first moment of communication between us. It is an understatement to say that that Dr. Shaheen’s work has been foundational and inspirational to my own and that he is an icon in the field. He provided the foundation for everyone who works on media representations of Arabs and Muslims. It is not possible to write or teach about representations of Arabs or Muslims in the U.S. without his meticulously documented research.

Over the last four decades, Shaheen has created an archive of materials that is housed at the New York University library. The Jack G. Shaheen Archive contains nearly 3,000 moving images, including motion pictures, cartoons, newsreels, and televisions programs, as well as editorial cartoons, advertisements, books, magazines, comic books, toys, and games featuring anti-Arab and anti-Muslim depictions, an incredible resource for researchers. The archive also includes notes on films for which he served as a consultant (e.g. Three Kings, Syriana) and legal cases for which he served as an expert witness. It also contains letters he wrote to television and film producers to make them aware of the stereotypes they were perpetuating, along with some of the responses he received. When I visited this archive, I was overwhelmed by this evidence of his energy and advocacy. In the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, he was a lone force directly taking on the news media for perpetuating stereotypes, and seeking to raise awareness, one letter at a time, and then, one op-ed at a time. In 2008, he published his book, Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs after 9/11, in which he examined more than 100 movies released after 9/11. He noted that while about a third of these films contain more positive representations of Arabs, many films also rehash the same old stereotypes.

Dr. Shaheen’s legacy of raising awareness of damaging stereotypes is awe inspiring. He traveled the world lecturing, writing articles and op-eds, including more than 300 essays featured in outlets such as Newsweek and The Washington Post as well as in college textbooks. He gave more than 1,000 lectures in nearly all the 50 states and on three continents. He appeared on national network programs such as CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, Good Morning America, 48 Hours, and The Today Show. He received numerous awards throughout his life. I had the good fortune of being present when he was recognized as Arab American of the Year by the community nonprofit organization, ACCESS in 2015. When Dr. Shaheen was to come to the University of Michigan in April 2016, I called him ahead of time to prepare for the interview, but he said that he did not want to know the questions in advance. When I said, “I am thinking that I will ask you about …,” he quickly cut me off with an emphatic “No! Don’t tell me!” He wanted to be in the moment, unrehearsed, and kept on his toes.

Students and colleagues loved meeting him and were struck by his dedication to challenging stereotypes and his incredible warmth and generosity — not to mention his promptness with a good joke. I will remember him for his unyielding dedication and tireless advocacy for Arab and Muslim civil rights — just two weeks ago, he was considering doing a podcast series. I will remember him for his kindness and sound advice. I will remember him for the incredible legacy he has left behind in his books, film, archive, publications, and lectures. I will remember him for his message that stereotypes dehumanize people, that it is important not to remain silent, and that it is possible to create a more just world.

Evelyn Alsultany is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Professor in the Department of American Culture and Director of Arab and Muslim American Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Arabs and Muslims in the Media: Race and Representation after 9/11 (2012). She is guest curator of the Arab American National Museum’s online exhibit, Reclaiming Identity: Dismantling Arab Stereotypes. More recently, she collaborated with colleagues at other universities to create the #IslamophobiaIsRacism Online Syllabus to support others in teaching and learning about Islamophobia. In 2012, she was honored with a Jack G. and Bernice Shaheen Achievement Award.

Originally posted at Arab Stereotypes.

Call for Papers for a special issue of Amerasia

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 (gualtier@usc.edu), Dr. Pauline Homsi Vinson (pvinson@dvc.edu) and Dr. Arnold Pan, Associate Editor (arnoldpan@ucla.edu).

Action Alert: MENA Census Category

The OMB has published a Federal Register Notice calling for public comments on the proposal to add a MENA category. The deadline for public comments is April 30th, 2017After of decades of work, this is an exciting breakthrough! 
 
We are providing sample language here: MENA Action Alert 4.12.17. Please read through it, draft your comment, and sent it to Race-Ethnicity@omb.eop.gov

AMEWS Book Award Now Accepting Nominations!

AMEWS is now taking nominations for it’s annual AMEWS Book Award. Information on the award can be found on their website here:

http://amews.org/amews-book-award/

AANM Travel Grant Application Open

The Arab American National Museum’s summer research travel grant is accepting applications. Deadline: April 14

All information about the grant and application process can be found here: bit.ly/2kk4DHT

TODAY: Waypoints and Watersheds at UM-Dearborn Social Sciences Building room 1500 SSB

Waypoints and Watersheds begins at 5pm today! Join us on UM-Dearborn’s campus in the Social Sciences Building, room 1500 SSB. The full schedule can be found here.

waypoint-and-watersheds-copy

 

 

Join us for Waypoints and Watersheds THIS WEEKEND

Waypoints and Watersheds starts on Friday, and we would love for you to join us! The schedule is here, and registration is here.

 

waypoint-and-watersheds-copy

AASA is helping to challenge the latest Muslim ban

We are joining the ACRL and the ACLU of Michigan’s lawsuit. Read more here.

Members affected by the executive order should contact the board here.

AASA is joining the ACLU of Michigan in challenging Trump’s newest Muslim ban

The Arab American Studies Association has signed on as a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Michigan and the Arab-American Civil Rights League.

The ban limits our ability to function as an organization in a variety of ways. We will be unable to mentor new scholars from affected countries, or to recruit them into our academic programs. Scholars from the affected countries will be unable to attend our conferences, and we would be unable to consider holding an academic conference outside the US, as members without citizenship or permanent residency would be unable to attend. Further, members who are not US citizens or permanent residents cannot conduct transnational research, which is an integral part of our field. Beyond issues of scholarship, though, as researchers who understand that transnational ties are important to the immigrant experience, we recognize that this ban has the potential to negatively impact those personal relationships.

We are especially interested in hearing from members who are nationals of the six banned countries or who have been affected tangentially by the ban. Please contact us at board@arabamericanstudies.org.

You can read more about the lawsuit here.