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Post-9/11 Representations of Arab Men by Arab American Women Writers

Affirmation and Resistance


Marta Bosch-Vilarrubias

Post-9/11 Representations of Arab Men by Arab American Women Writers: Affirmation and Resistance examines the portrayals of Arab masculinities in novels published after September 11, 2001, by women of Arab descent in the United States. The book provides a historical account of the mainstream representations of Arab masculinities in the United States, using them as a contrast to the realities experienced by Arab men in the American diaspora. Considering the construction of male and female Arab American identities, this book illustrates the role of feminism in Arab American literature written by women and its influence on women’s depictions of Arab men. Through an analysis of representative works by Diana Abu-Jaber, Laila Halaby, and Randa Jarrar, among others, this volume demonstrates how Arab American women’s anti-racist and anti-sexist struggles inform their nuanced portrayals of Arab men. This book will be essential for professors and students of ethnic American literatures in general and Arab American studies in particular, as well as for those interested in women’s studies and masculinity studies.
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Chapter Four: Post-9/11 Representations of Arab American Men by Arab American Women Writers


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Post-9/11 Representations of Arab American Men by Arab American Women Writers


If the image of [Arabs] is truly being created by the American imagination, the time has come to invalidate that image and render it unrecognizable…However slow and painful the recovery, Arab-American destiny will continue to come under Arab-American control so long as the image of the Arab-American comes increasingly under the control of Arab-American writers. (Khaled Mattawa and Munir Akash xi)

As the above quote notes, Arab American writers play a central role in the mainstream perception of Arabs in the United States. This chapter aims at illustrating the specific contribution of Arab American women writers in the dissemination of anti-discriminatory portrayals of Arab (American) men. In the sections that follow, I will thus be exploring Arab American masculinities in novels written by Arab American women, specifically those published after 9/11. The aim of this chapter is not to provide a fully detailed list of Arab American novels but to focus on a selection so as to point to trends common in post-9/11 writings. Above all, it intends to elucidate the main discourses forwarded by Arab American women writers in their representations of Arab (American) men. At the same time, it shall examine the influence of Arab American feminism on these depictions, while focusing on women authors from different nationalities of origin, and immigrant generations.1

This chapter shall be divided following a...

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