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American ArabesqueArabs and Islam in the Nineteenth Century Imaginary$
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Jacob Rama Berman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814789506

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814789506.001.0001

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Pentimento Geographies

Pentimento Geographies

(p.70) 2 Pentimento Geographies
American Arabesque

Jacob Rama Berman

NYU Press

This chapter looks at the figure of the indigene as it relates to the question of nativity and ownership in the American context. The Arab figure that mostly reverberates with the midcentury American national imaginary is the Bedouin. Americans in the Near East justified U.S. national expansion at its continental borders by employing pentimento representations of the Bedouin through which they discussed Native Indians. These representations created complex metaphors of white American nativity. Moreover, the translation of the Arab Bedouin into the American Bedouin not only stabilized white nativity in America, but also created a national symbolic that differentiates American Empire from its historical predecessors.

Keywords:   American nativity, American ownership, Bedouin, Native Indians, Arab Bedouin, American Bedouin, American Empire

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