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With the Face of the Enemy

Arab American Literature since 9/11

Over the past two decades, the events of September 11, 2001, have inspired a range of literary responses, as American authors grappled with new manifestations of terror, surveillance, and global war. With the Face of the Enemy focuses specifically on the writings of Arab American authors, whose perspectives in the post-9/11 US grant them unique insights into both the Western and Arab worlds. Using the lens of postcolonial literary theory, Katharina Motyl explores how the events of 9/11 turned Arab Americans into enemies within their own country. Moving away from discussions of the War on Terror that declare it a “clash of civilizations” between the Muslim world and the West, the fiction and poetry dissected in this book alternates between deconstructing neo-Orientalist stereotypes and taking a critical look at the patriarchal structures that dominate Arab family life. Motyl pays special attention to texts written by Arab American women, who have radically advocated for self-determination in areas like sexuality and mode of dress, rejecting the long-held stereotypes of Arab women as either victims or sex objects. With the Face of the Enemy takes a serious look at how the aesthetics of Arab American literature reflects the many psychosocial consequences of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan on an underexamined group of writers.

330 pages | 6 1/2 x 9

North American Studies

Art: Art--General Studies

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