Essays and Features

Presently Reading the Past: A Look at Early Arab-American Literature

By 
Theri Alyce Pickens

In his article “Ethnic Identity and Imperative Patriotism,” eminent Arab-American literary critic and scholar Steven Salaita explores the question: “How has the pedagogy of Arab American Studies changed?” Salaita suggests that it has changed considerably, and that Arab- American Studies now receive the sort of attention for which its scholars once clamored.

The Other Prison

By 
MOHAMMAD ALI ATASSI

Can one understand the experience of being a prisoner without ever being in a prison cell? This question might seem strange at first, but those who have met and talked with the family members of political prisoners in Syria will definitely know the answer.

Iraqi Actor Jawad Shukraji on Childhood, Working Under Saddam and His Recent TV Series

By 
Rebecca Joubin

When you think back on your childhood, what is the first thing that strikes you?

I was born in Baghdad in 1951 near the shrine of Abdel Ghader al-Gaylani, a Sunni holy man. My mother was from Karbala and my father from Najaf. I was born Shii, yet I spent the early days of my childhood near this Sunni holy shrine.

Clearing a Path for Mainstream Arab-American Literature

By 
Andrea Shalal-Esa

Arab-American literature was already growing by leaps and bounds in the late 1990s, but the Sept. 11, 2001 hijacking attacks fueled an upsurge of interest in all things Arab and Muslim and helped broaden the mainstream appeal of poetry and prose by American authors of Arab descent. More Arab-American writers are getting published, and their work is finding its way into more anthologies of women’s writing and other postcolonial collections, albeit slowly. Challenges remain, to be sure, but we are watching a vibrant new genre of Arab-American literature emerge after a century of struggle for recognition. 

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