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Contemporary Arab-American LiteratureTransnational Reconfigurations of Citizenship and Belonging$
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Carol Fadda-Conrey

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479826926

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479826926.001.0001

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Reimagining the Ancestral Arab Homeland

Reimagining the Ancestral Arab Homeland

Chapter:
(p.28) 1 Reimagining the Ancestral Arab Homeland
Source:
Contemporary Arab-American Literature
Author(s):

Carol Fadda-Conrey

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479826926.003.0002

This chapter revolves around representations of Arab homelands as embodied and performed by immigrant parents or grandparents, with these memories subsequently internalized but also revised by second- and third-generation Arab-Americans—those who came of age or were born in the second half of the twentieth century. These younger Arab-Americans, most of whom have never been to the Arab world, revise inherited understandings of and connections to that “furthest” and “deepest” point of origin, or the “old country.” Instead of replicating the older immigrant generations' nostalgic memories of Arab homelands, however, they destabilize nostalgia by moving depictions of original homelands beyond a celebratory focus on ethnic and cultural traditions to incorporate accounts of the harsh realities of war, dispossession, gender politics, and exile. The writers of this generation draw on transnational frameworks of knowledge production to imagine, exemplify, and enact in their work a revisionary approach to Arab-American citizenship and belonging.

Keywords:   representations of Arab homelands, third-generation Arab-Americans, Arab world, old country, nostalgia, cultural traditions, Arab-American citizenship, belonging

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