Arab Americana:Race and identity (re)construction in Arab American fiction

Alzayat, Dima (2020) Arab Americana:Race and identity (re)construction in Arab American fiction. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This thesis is in two parts. First, the short story collection, Alligator and Other Stories, which features Arab American characters, and explores, in part, their varied identities. This is followed by a critical thesis that brings Arab American literary studies into direct conversation with race and racialisation theories. As a whole, this creative-critical work interrogates how racialisation informs contemporary Arab American fiction, focusing on how authors strategically employ racial discourses to forge literary identities. Interwoven discussion of my short story collection contextualises my interest and investment in this topic and critically reflects on my creative practice. The central argument of this thesis is that Arab American contemporary fiction is undergoing a shift in how it engages with issues of race and racialisation in the U.S. By focusing on the work of two authors, Randa Jarrar and Rabih Alameddine, as well as on my own creative practice, this thesis argues that Arab American fiction is renegotiating a historical ambivalence towards ‘whiteness’. In the process, this literature is explicitly articulating racialised Arab American literary identities that question and reject the label of ‘honorary whiteness’ historically assumed or unchallenged by most Arab American fictional texts. This thesis explores how Arab American writers are (re)drawing what it means to be Arab American in a racial context, and, in the process, (re)defining American belonging.

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Thesis (PhD)
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22 Sep 2020 15:40
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 03:09