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Diasporas of Empire: An Anti-Imperialist Arab

ASE Commons

A Series on Race, Power, and Critical Thought whose aim is to highlight the research of American Studies and Ethnicity (ASE) core and affiliated faculty and graduate students, and to build community through sustained conversations and workshops.

Speaker: Nadine Naber (University of Michigan)

Respondent: Sarah Gualtieri (ASE/History)

Arab Americans are one of the most misunderstood segments of the U.S. population, especially after the events of 9/11. In Arab America, Nadine Naber tells the stories of second generation Arab American young adults living in the San Francisco Bay Area, most of whom are political activists engaged in two culturalist movements that draw on the conditions of diaspora, a Muslim global justice and a Leftist Arab movement.

Writing from a transnational feminist perspective, Naber reveals the complex and at times contradictory cultural and political processes through which Arabness is forged in the contemporary United States, and explores the apparently intra-communal cultural concepts of religion, family, gender, and sexuality as the battleground on which Arab American young adults and the looming world of America all wrangle. As this struggle continues, these young adults reject Orientalist thought, producing counter-narratives that open up new possibilities for transcending the limitations of Orientalist, imperialist, and conventional nationalist articulations of self, possibilities that ground concepts of religion, family, gender, and sexuality in some of the most urgent issues of our times: immigration politics, racial justice struggles, and U.S. militarism and war.


About the Speaker

Nadine Naber is Associate Professor in The Department of Women’s Studies, Department of American Studies, and Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is author of Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism (NYU Press, 2012). She is co-editor, with Rabab Abdulhadi and Evelyn Alsultany, of Arab and Arab American Feminisms (Syracuse University Press 2011) and co-editor, with Amaney Jamal, of Race and Arab Americans (Syracuse University Press, 2007). She is co-founder of Arab Movement of Women arising for Justice and has been a national board member of INCITE! Women of Color against Violence and the Women of Color Resource Center.