The description is submitted to:


Session C5029 (Global Arab America: Cosmopolitanism and its Discontents), 2017
Global Arab America: Cosmopolitanism and its Discontents

Immigrant parents take their children “back home” for extended periods of time so they can learn their language, religion, and culture, meet their extended family, and build self-esteem in their national and religious identities. Yet one outcome of this experience for the youth involved can be a sense of cosmopolitanism, instead of or in addition to strengthened identifications with their parents’ homelands and religion. Using quotes from research I conducted in Palestine, Jordan, and Yemen with 93 Arab American youth attending high school in the homeland, I will describe what this cosmopolitanism looks like as well as the circumstances that led to its evolution. This sense was articulated as a type of knowledge about much more than how specific cultures work, an insight into how the world works; something some referred to as becoming a global citizen. It tended to be a perspective expressed by females more than males. Then, using quotes from a smaller set of post-study interviews with persons who had lived transnationally [in Palestine] one generation earlier, I will articulate the downside of this newfound cosmopolitan perspective: that it has limited value in American culture, which interlocutors described as narrow-minded and unreceptive to cosmopolitan insights.