CFP: Centering the Margins: Reimagining the field Arab American Studies

Call for Papers
Centering the Margins: Reimagining the field Arab American Studies

Description
The field of Arab American Studies has produced cutting-edge research on various aspects of Arab American lives and experiences, yielding important insights into their intersections with nation, race, gender, sex, and generations. However, the stories and experiences of Arab Americans hailing from the Levant have been at the center of much scholarly attention in this field, with immigration to the United States from Greater Syria from the 1880s to the 1920s often standing in as its historical point of origin. What happens when voices and experiences that have occupied the margins of Arab American studies move to the center of intellectual conversation and research focus? What happens when we draw on multiple origins that converge and differ among many historical and cultural vectors? 

This edited collection proposes an answer by centering communities and experiences from the periphery in relationship to Arab American studies as a field. It further seeks to enhance connections with other fields beyond ethnic studies, including religious studies, gender studies, settler colonial, Indigenous studies, migration studies, and Black, Pacific, Asian, and Latinx studies. The collection’s objective to foreground underrepresented research in Arab American Studies does not only aim to counterbalance the over-emphasis on certain regions and topics in Arab American Studies but also to forge inroads between these sites. 

Here are a few possible inquiries for illustrative purposes: What changes about the narrative of Arab American studies if we begin with settler colonialism, and with the Middle Passage, and the lives of enslaved Muslim and Afro-Arab people? How do Arab American scholars decenter the US history and challenge US nationalism while recognizing the significance of Black, Arab, and Muslim American histories and connections? How does focusing on such underrepresented communities as Yemeni Americans or Somali Americans, among others, complicate narratives and meanings of struggle, advocacy, and solidarity?

We hereby seek contributions within the humanities and social sciences to an edited volume addressing the marginalization of scholarship and communities in Arab American studies. As such, the volume invites essays that focus on under-represented communities such as Algerian, Djiboutian, Egyptian, Khaliji, Libyan, Iraqi, Mauritanian, Moroccan, Somali, Sudanese, Tunisian, and Yemeni Americans. We also welcome essays that reimagine the field of Arab American Studies in terms of relationalities, both to other communities and other areas of study. How does Arabness relate to Indian ocean cultures across Asia and Africa, engage with Latinx and indigenous communities, and/or intersect with religion? Works that draw on perspectives from critical race, feminist, diasporic, disability, post-colonial, queer, and transnational studies, among other perspectives, are welcome.

By including marginalized perspectives to bear on Arab American studies, this volume does not aim to discredit scholarship at the center of the field or necessarily render it to the margins. This is rather an intellectual exercise with the hope of forging a space for fresh insights into the field and charting new pathways for further research and collaboration. This pursuit aspires to open the door for new ways of thinking, pursuing, and even positioning meanings of Arab America in multi-layered and varied analyses.

To be considered for this volume, we kindly request you to submit a 300–400-word abstract that describes your project’s scope, argument, and methodology, along with your CV, no later than April 15, 2023. Please send your abstract and CV, or any inquiries you may have, to the volume’s co-editors, Dr. Waleed F. Mahdi (wfm@ou.edu) and Dr. Danielle Haque (danielle.haque@mnsu.edu). Authors of selected abstracts will be invited to contribute their essays later. The volume will be published in a university press.

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