603-102-MQ, Arab-American Literature
Arab American communities in the United States date back to the late 19th century, but these communities have had different and changing relationships with other groups in the country. From lobbying to be considered “white” in order to be granted U.S. citizenship, to struggling against local racism, to anti-war activism, Arab American experiences have been mediated by the various regulations—both formal and informal—that govern the relationships between individuals, communities, and the state, even as they have fought to overturn these regulations. In this course, we will read selections from the body of literature written by Arab Americans in the past century. We will consider the different social issues that Arab American authors have grappled with, their various literary influences, parallels between their experiences and those of other communities of color, their engagement with historical experiences of racialization, and their recent role in criticizing the U.S. war on terror. By reading different literary texts, we will consider what Arab American struggles in the U.S. can teach us about relationships between different communities of color, transnational connections between Americans and places and communities abroad, the cost of nationalist fervor in the U.S., and America’s long history of militarism and war.