Middle East Essay

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Please cite properly all the information you use, and answer the essay questions clearly and with good evidence. If you use any extra outside sources please cite them properly.

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Essay topics: 50%

Choose Three of the topics below. For each write a formal essay that is between 900-1200 words. Double-space and proofread carefully. If you’ve written on any of these topics for your midterm and you still would like to write about them here, make sure to use other primary works to discuss. Choose a range of works (minimum 3, different genres) to help you formulate a complex and nuanced thesis. Note that these are broad topics. You still need to narrow them down to have an argument.

2) Write an essay on the ways Arab American writers respond to orientalist representations of Arabs and Muslims. What strategies do they use? Which ones are effective, which ones are less so?

5) How does the form (narrative voice, structure, language etc) of The Book of Khalid and Koolaids relate to some of the themes in these two books.

6) In one of her poems, Suhair Hammad writes, “Over there is over here.” Write an essay showing how this idea is treated by some Arab-American writers.

Course Description

What is Arab-American literature? What does it mean to be Arab American in pre and post 9/11 America? How do Arab American writers and artists negotiate identity, home, and exile? How do they engage issues of gender, sexuality, race, terrorism, and war? What does religion, particularly Islam, play in these engagements? This course will begin to answer these questions by offering a survey of Arab-American literature from its beginnings until now. Through this literature we will seek to understand the particularities of the American experience as it relates to different generations of Arab Americans and also its continuities with other ethnic groups. We will do this by reading poetry, short stories, novels, and autobiographies. We will also view films, music videos, and stand up comedy. Readings will include works by Amin Rihani, Suheir Hammad, Lisa Majaj, Noami Shihab Nye, Mohja Kahf, Rabeeh Alamdedine, Randa Jarrar, and Edward Said, among others. Films will include The Planet of the Arabs, Amreeka, and Detroit Unleaded.

Required Texts: Available at GMU bookstore and elsewhere.

Mohja Kahf, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2006.

Rabih Alameddine, Koolaids, Grove Press, Reprint Edition, 2015.

Laila Halabi, Once In the Promised Land: A Novel. Beacon Press, 2008.

Other readings will be made available as pdfs on blackboard. You can find them under Course Content in folders bearing the author’s name or title of the piece.

Bring to class a printed copy of the primary material we are discussing

Films and other visuals: (to view in class or at home)

Jackie Salloum, Planet of the Arabs and Arabs a Go-Go

Shereen Deabis, Amreeka

Rola Nashef, Detroit Unleaded

I Exist: Voices from the Middle Eastern Gay and Lesbian Community

Axis of Evil Comedy Tour

Fordson: Faith, Fasting, and Football

Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People

Nick Dembowski, T.V’s Promised Land

Edward Said, On Orientalism.

Ann Marie Jacir, Salt of this Sea

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Explanation & Answer

here is the final copy

2) Write an essay on the ways Arab American writers respond to orientalist
representations of Arabs and Muslims. What strategies do they use? Which ones are effective,
which ones are less so?
By the late nineteenth century, the Arab American writers started to get reasonable in
numbers in both the United States and Britain. This was after the Second World War. After their
arrival, some of them ventured into the literature field. They have produced works with varying
themes in their host countries. A number of these themes are related to the suspicion between the
Middle East countries with those of the west. They have done works on their migration
experience, the lives of the minorities in their host nations and stereotypes and the cultural
disparities as well as misconceptions. This essay aims at defining the general ideas surrounding
The essay discusses how the American writers with the Arab origin respond to
Orientalism representation of the Arabs as well as the Muslims. This paper presents some of the
strategies used by the Arab American writers. Before looking at some of the strategies used, the
term Orientalism is defined and ways that characterize Orientalism outlined. The term
Orientalism can be defined in different ways and use different words and in different
perspectives. Academically, Orientalism is a name given to the process of teaching, writing or

researching about the Orient. The person who does this can either be a sociologist person,
anthropology experts a historian or a philologist. Another controversial meaning of Orientalism
is the sense that the West has dominantly greatly knowledge on the said Orient so that they can
try and deal with it or control it. It is said to be Western-style where they manipulate, formulate
statements about Orientalism, restructure the whole idea of Orientalism and eventually control it.
This discussion about Orientalism shows the manifestation of the social, social, and political
existence of the Orient, and fills in as a solid premise of the made Oriental information. This is to
state that when contemplating and managing the Orient, one thinks that it’s hard to do that in
segregation from the made learning about the Orient. Said worries in this regard; "I trust nobody
composing, considering, or following up on the Orient could do as such without a record of the
impediments on thought and activity forced by Orientalism." He adds to that; "given
Orientalism, the Orient was not a free subject of thought or activity. To successfully define and
understand Orientalism, it is good to compare those Arab countries that are represented by the
Middle East and whose dominance is the Muslim community with the Western countries. There
has been variation in the way the two parties perceives and conduct their business. The whole
difference is even evident in the way the two groups dress.
Arab American writers have produced great works of literature defining their people in their true
definitions. This has been a counter action to try and convince the world different from what they
have been told or made to believe in the Orientalism. They have come out so strong to oppose
the unfair judgment that has been there on the Arab Muslims people. All these have been done
through the publishing of articles, live televisions interviews among others methods.
The Arab American writers have come out strongly to defend their people as well as their
culture. The culture that has been portrayed as evil, dangerous and destructive. This is because

the Arab American writers are the ones who understand better the orientalismcultur...

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