Syrian immigrant Khadra Shamy is growing up in a devout, tightly knit Muslim family in 1970s Indiana, at the crossroads of bad polyester and Islamic dress codes. Along with her brother Eyad and her African-American friends, Hakim and Hanifa, she bikes the Indianapolis streets exploring the fault-lines between “Muslim” and “American.” When her picture-perfect marriage goes sour, Khadra flees to Syria and learns how to pray again. On returning to America she works in an eastern state — taking care to stay away from Indiana, where the murder of her friend Tayiba's sister by Klan violence years before still haunts her. But when her job sends her to cover a national Islamic conference in Indianapolis, she's back on familiar ground: Attending a concert by her brother's interfaith band The Clash of Civilizations, dodging questions from the “aunties” and “uncles,” and running into the recently divorced Hakim everywhere. Beautifully written and featuring an exuberant cast of characters, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf charts the spiritual and social landscape of Muslims in middle America, from five daily prayers to the Indy 500 car race. It is a riveting debut from an important new voice.
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- Author : Mazen Naous
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2020
- Genre : American fiction
- Pages : 188
- ISBN : 0814277756
""Redefines dominant perceptions of Arab Americans via an aesthetic analysis of Arab American novels, such as Diana Abu-Jaber's Arabian Jazz and Crescent, Rabih Alameddine's Koolaids: The Art of War, Laila Halaby's Once in a Promised Land, and Mohja Kahf's The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, thereby launching transcultural possibilities by initiating visibility through poetics"--Provided by publisher"--
Arab American Women s Identity Crises in Mohja Kahf s The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf and Laila Halaby s West of the Jordan
- Author : Arwa H. Almasaari
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2017
- Genre : Arab American women
- Pages : 105
- ISBN : 1369668481
Abstract: This thesis adopts a transnational and postcolonial feminist approach in exploring Arab American women's literature. In particular, I focus on the Jordanian-Palestinian American novel, West of the Jordan by Laila Halaby, and the Syrian American novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Kahf. In each chapter I examine the hyphenated identities of these novels' protagonists, Hala, Soraya, Khadija, and Khadra. In so doing, I argue that each character grapples with her identity mainly as a result of her Arab relatives' and American peers' fixed notions of cultural, national, and religious identities. Ultimately, my analysis traces the protagonists' various forms of resistance to the overly narrow definitions of "Arabness" and "Americanness" each must confront. Moreover, by contesting essentialist notions of "Arabness," I argue that both authors shed light on the diversity of Arabs and Muslims - two terms that, more often than not, have been conflated and reduced to a singular monolithic group in Eurocentric discourses. I locate my analysis within current geopolitical struggles such as the Palestinian Israeli conflict and the 9/11 attacks. Further, I place these novels within the genealogy of literature written by immigrants of Arab descent in the US.
“Mohja Kahf ’s Hagar Poems is brilliantly original in its conception, thrillingly artful in its execution. Its range is immense, its spiritual depth is profound, it negotiates its shifts between archaic and the contemporary with utmost skill. There’s lyricism, there’s satire, there’s comedy, there’s theology of a high order in this book.” —Alicia Ostriker, author of For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book “Hagar/ Hajar the immigrant/exile/outcast/refugee mother of a people is given multiple voices and significance in Mohja Kahf’s new book of dramatic monologues, which also reinvents Pharaoh’s daughter, Zuleika, Aïsha, and Mary in poems that are at once lively and learned, agnostic and devout. The sequence on an American mosque, and the poet’s ambivalent love for what it represents, is unique in American poetry.” —Marilyn Hacker, author of A Stranger’s Mirror “‘Where have all the goddesses gone,’ writes Mohja Kahf, ‘I tracked down Isis / incognito on Cyprus. /She told me Ishtar / lived under the radar / in southern Iraq. . . .’ In Hagar Poems, Mohja Kahf’s hallmark qualities—irreverence, imagination, wit, poignancy—are all exuberantly in evidence. A wonderful read.” —Leila Ahmed, author of A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America “This brilliant collection captures all the ‘patient threading of relationship’ between Hagar and Sarah as between women, and then between women and men, between human and God. . . . At every turn of the page [Kahf] refuses complacency and circumstance but opts instead for exposing the tenuousness of threads that tie and bind and then come loose before our eyes.” —From the foreword by Amina Wadud The central matter of this daring new collection is the story of Hagar, Abraham, and Sarah—the ancestral feuding family of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These poems delve into the Hajar story in Islam. They explore other figures from the Nea
- Author : Maram AbdulKarim Almatani
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2014
- Genre : Islam in literature
- Pages : 85
- ISBN : OCLC:930581588
This thesis analyses the representations of teenage Muslim girls in Randa Abdel-Fattah's novels Ten things I hate about me and Does my head look big in this?, Mohja Kahf's The girl in the tangerine scarf and Aliya Husain's Neither this nor that. All are set in the United States and Australia, with the central motif of the hijab as a symbol of female oppression.
In this radiant collection of love poems, Mohja Kahf makes a feast and a celebration, in language and of language. Everyone is invited: "Never drink while another is thirsty. You first. No, you. We could dance like this forever." From dizzying bursts of eros to wry acceptance of mortality, Kahf translates her robust Arabic literary lineage into the regal command: "Always multiply the gift." Pleasure shimmers off these pages with spiritual undertones, glancing subtly at Quran, at hadith. The opening poem, "When I Come to You," echoes a Hadith Qudsi in which God says, "When my worshipper comes to Me walking, I go to her running." With its joyful succession of images calling for reciprocity, this poem, and the collection, honor the mutual desire for union between Creator and creature as a foundation for expressions of human desire. From that generous place, we leap into lyric delight in the physicality of the erotic. It is the reader's task and reward to embrace "this beautiful clumsiness." -from the Preface by Rahat Kurd
The problematic question "Who are you?" directed at Muslims in western countries after the 9/11 attacks in the United States, expected a singular and immutable response. Yet such an impossible response would disavow the diversity of Muslim communities and the ways in which both religious and national identities inform their individual and collective narratives. To explore this impossible call and the diversity of responses to it that argue against narrow configurations of what it means to be Muslim, American, British, or French, I analyze selected novels published after 9/11 in the United States, Britain, and France. Chapter 1, on Mohja Kahf's The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (2006) and Laila Halaby's Once in a Promised Land (2007) in the U.S., Chapter 2 on Robin Yassin-Kassab's The Road from Damascus (2009) and Leila Aboulela's Minaret (2005) in Britain, and Chapter 3 on Fai̋̋za Guène's Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow (2004, translated in 2006) and Dreams from the Endz (2006, translated in 2008) in France investigate in turn the complexities of Muslim identity after 9/11 and issues of gender, race, religion, and multiple belonging. In exploring the external and internal forces that contribute to the formulation of Muslim identity in Western countries, I trace two crucial marginalizing and exclusionary forces for Muslim citizens and residents: nationalist narratives of the countries in which they live and particularist religious narratives - each of which exclude adherents from the community if they do not conform to a singular image of a Muslim. My analysis of the dynamics involved in configuring Muslim identity is informed by the work of Margaret R. Somer on narrative identity and of Judith Butler on the ethics of demanding and of giving 'an account of oneself.' Cyra Akila Choudhury on regulatory images of Muslims in the U.S. and Meyda Yeğenoğlu on the role of immigrants in the construction of European identity offer important context to the complication by these novels
- Author : Zeynep Aydogdu
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2019
- Genre : Arab American literature
- Pages : 231
- ISBN : OCLC:1147914850
My project, Modernity, Multiculturalism, and Racialization in Transnational America: Autobiography and Fiction by Immigrant Muslim Women Before and After 9/11, interrogates the enduring notion of America as the promised land of freedom and social mobility in the narratives of Muslim immigrant women. Informed by the critical theories of minority discourse, U.S. borders studies, and postcolonial scholarship, I argue that autobiography and fiction by Muslim American women writers indicate an ideological flexibility, demonstrating a spectrum of discursive negotiations and stances that strategically claim secular, religious, modern, feminist, capitalist, transnational, and multiracial identities that altogether challenge the hegemonic and binary configurations of the figure of “the Muslim” and reformulate the terms of citizenship and belonging in the U.S. I read these strategies in three different writings: Selma Ekrem’s autobiography Unveiled: The Autobiography of a Turkish Girl (1930), Mohja Kahf’s novel The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (2006), and Leila Halaby’s novel Once in A Promised Land (2007). Collectively, these texts articulate and address anxieties about the presumed “incommensurability” of Muslim/Middle Eastern identity with the imaginary ideal of normative Anglo-American modern society, and they offer a unique ethnic, religious, and cross-racial perspective that challenges dominant U.S. conceptions of the minority difference and exclusion. My project contributes to the theorizing of transnational minority literature in a context that goes beyond the simplistic framework of minor to major anti-hegemonic discourse. While I discuss these texts as counternarratives to hegemonic articulations of citizenship and exclusionary discourses of American identity, I also focus on minor-to-minor sensibilities, paying attention to the ways in which literature offers a space for articulations of cross-ethnic alliances, solidarities, and tensions amongst immigr
The Practice of Faith and Personal Growth in Three Novels by Muslim Women Writers in the Western Diaspora
- Author : Amrah Abdul Majid
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2015
- Genre : Uncategorized
- Pages : 388
- ISBN : OCLC:1011521276
The aim of this study is to explore how religious beliefs, rituals and practices shape the personal growth of the leading female characters in three novels written by Muslim women authors writing in the Western diaspora. The novels are Randa Abdel-Fattah's 'Does My Head Look Big in This?' (2005), Mohja Kahf's 'The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf' (2006) and Leila Aboulela's 'The Translator' (1999). These novels span the experiences of the protagonists in Australia, the USA and Scotland. I focused on authors who avoided the negative stereotypes typically associated with Muslim women. I found that these novels showed Islam to be an integrated and empowering part of the women's lives. Such empowerment is only achieved after long struggles within the women themselves. Emerging at the end of that process are three women who have a firm idea of who they are, are strongly committed to Islam, are tolerant of differences within the Islamic and non-Islamic communities, and are also committed to participating in and enjoying the non-Muslim societies in which they live.In order to understand these aspects of the novels in question, I seek to build on Saba Mahmood's (2005) study of Muslim women's piety, which argues that, contrary to the general understanding of Islam as a restrictive religion, particularly for women, its rituals and practices can more properly be understood as tools for achieving self-actualization and self-improvement. At the core of Mahmood's arguments is Talal Asad's (1986) conceptualization of Islam as a discursive tradition which allows for varied understanding of its core doctrines and practices. Irfan Ahmad's (2011) concept of "immanent critique in Islam" further shows how Islam is able to develop criticism within its own tradition. The concepts of discursive tradition and immanent critique together explain how the protagonists can actively engage with different understandings of Islam in order to extend and implement their own satisfactory position within t
The Muslim female protagonists in the selected novels, Ahdaf Souif's Aisha (1983), Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003), Monica Aly's Brick Lane (2004) and Mohja Kahf's The Girl in Tangerine Scarf (2006), have passed through the same circumstances in the different communities they moved to. The novels show the sufferings women face in their lives especially from the male characters surrounding them. All the women in the novels have suppressed shouts that need to be released, but they are unable to do so because of the oppression imposed upon them. They struggle throughout their lives for their emancipation whether in their native countries or when they immigrate to other countries. They seem to be exposed to the same problems that face them. All female characters are like caged birds waiting eagerly for their emancipation into the vast space to fill the universe with their happy shouts, otherwise in their cages they just die in silence.
Mosaics of Identity: Reading Muslim Women's Memoirs From Across the Diaspora addresses Muslim women's life writing in transit since 9/11. This project follows the memoir boom fueled by many Middle Eastern women writers publishing in the U.S., Australia and Europe. By studying contemporary Arab and Iranian women's memoirs and autobiofictional works, this project investigates the expression of life writers who are trying to influence their local and global communities through the form of the confessional. This research project focuses on modes of self-representation in Middle Eastern women's personal narratives, paying careful attention to the narrative strategies they use to negotiate art and meaning within memoir. The first chapter, entitled, "True Lies: Reviving Orientalism in Honor-Killing Hoaxes" argues that the two so-called "honor killing" memoirs, Forbidden Love and Burned Alive, were successfully believed as genuine memoirs for over two years, despite the fact that they were hoaxes, because of the political post-9/11 climate resurrecting Orientalist attitudes about the Middle East. These sensationalized works used Orientalist tropes to become best-selling memoirs and in doing so, they strike many questions about how their deception was successful. Although Muslim women's memoirs can serve as a forum for creating revisionist histories through female life stories, they also function as narratives written, published and marketed with the intentionality of producing works that perform the native informant's narrative. This chapter frames my exploration of Muslim women's memoirs in my other three chapters, which explore counter-narratives that defy these stereotypes constructed by dominant Euro-American literatures. The second chapter, "Comedic Masks, Tragic Faces: Humor, Racial Passing, and Identity Fragmentation in the Memoirs of Firoozeh Dumas and Marjane Satrapi," argues that the use of humor and satire are formal devices in which Iranian immigrant women use t
- Author : Mohja Kahf
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2020-09
- Genre : Uncategorized
- Pages : 400
- ISBN : 9774169751
A multi-disciplinary exploration of how masculinity in the MENA region is constructed in film, literature, and nationalist discourse Constructions of masculinity are constantly evolving and being resisted in the Middle East and North Africa. There is no "before" that was a stable gendered environment. This edited collection examines constructions of both hegemonic and marginalized masculinities in the MENA region, through literary criticism, film studies, discourse analysis, anthropological accounts, and studies of military culture. Bringing together contributors from the disciplines of linguistics, comparative literature, sociology, cultural studies, queer and gender studies, film studies, and history, Constructions of Masculinity in the Middle East and North Africa spans the colonial to the postcolonial eras with emphasis on the late twentieth century to the present day. This collective study is a diverse and exciting addition to the literature on gender and societal organization at a time when masculinities in the Middle East and North Africa are often essentialized and misunderstood.
- Author : Morgan E. McDougall
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2018
- Genre : English teachers
- Pages : 104
- ISBN : OCLC:1033675417
This thesis, Teaching Native American and Middle East American Literature in the Secondary School Classroom" answers the primary research question: How can high school Language Arts teachers show their students how to deconstruct the racial stereotypes and attitudes seen in current events around the world through the use of contemporary minority multicultural literature? Through analyzing two novels -- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Kahf -- this project points out three primary benefits that can be gained when the novels are implemented in the secondary Language Arts classroom: building empathy for the other, gaining knowledge of cultures beyond their own, and ultimately deconstructing racial stereotypes. In addition to textual analyses, this thesis also provides readers with sample lesson plans that could be implemented and adapted for use with similar novels, and are based in equity pedagogy, critical pedagogy, and reader-response theory. The lessons are also paralleled with the Ohio Common Core Standards for English Language Arts/Literacy to show the ease of implementing such types of literature into pre-existing curriculum standards.
This dissertation proposes that understandings of what it means to be Muslim American are filtered through distinctly US configurations of racial identity. Islam at Home examines this intersection of race and religion in the writings of Muslim Americans by taking the concept of whiteness and Muslim American identity as sites of difference. I argue that in challenging and reworking US cultural myths, Muslim American writers not only rewrite themselves as at home but also change the very dimensions of home. I use theories of African American Muslim liminality as well as intersectional theories--black Muslim feminist and identity performance--to examine intra-ummah and wider US understandings of Muslim American identity and belonging. Chapter 1 locates the origins of Muslim American literature in the writings of enslaved African Muslims, and through readings of Omar ibn Said's 1831 autobiography The Life of Omar Ibn Said (2011) and Malcolm X's The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) examines the shifts in what it has meant to be black, Muslim, and Black Muslim in the US. I underscore how racism, specifically anti-blackness, figures into the US public sphere's understanding of Muslim identity. Chapter 2 analyzes Mohja Kahf's novel The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (2006), and examines US and intra-ummah depictions of the hijabi, arguing that US depictions are read through a lens of antipathy to non-white femininity. In centering her main character's experiences between those of two black women, Kahf promotes cross-cultural sisterly alliances as resistance to US racism and xenophobia and intra-ummah silence on anti-black racism. Chapter 3 focuses on Wajahat Ali's play The Domestic Crusaders (2004, 2010), and explores some of the different ways in which the post-9/11 racialization of Islam crystallized a number of Muslim identities as not-white. In examining the terrorist amalgame I pay particular attention to what it has meant to perform Muslimness as opposed to status as Mu
In the aftermath of 9/11, fearful images of the Orient as a volatile blend of religious extremism and anti-western politics have flourished in the United States and Europe. Yet Orient and Occident are interrelated cultural formations. This interdisciplinary volume explores the rich history of cultural and political exchange between Arab, South Asian, and American cultures from the 18th century to the present. Nineteen original essays, which were first presented at the 51st conference of the German Association for American Studies, address the emergence of Arab American literature, intercultural encounters in the works of Arab, Arab American, and South Asian American writers and artists, and the Orient as a geographical region as well as a foil for American self-definitions in U.S. literature, opera, and film. Revisiting the work of Edward Said and Samuel Huntington, the collection examines how we develop our knowledge and fantasies about the Orient.