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Contemporary Arab American Women Writers: Hyphenated Identities and Border Crossings ...

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Contemporary Arab American Women Writers:

Introduction

I lost a river, culture, speech, sense of first space. And the right place? Now, where do you come from? Strangers ask. Originally? And I hesitate.

—Carol Ann Duffy, Selected Poems

What does it mean to be a hyphenated American or a hyphenated Arab? What does it mean to be an Arab American in a post-9/11 world? How can an Arab American woman—when her physical appearance, distinct traditions, body language, and style of dressing signal her as Other—be American? Will an Arab American woman be considered Arab even if her self-definition contradicts traditional or familial bonds? What challenges do these Arab American women face in the United States as Arab and more importantly as Arab women? Can an Arab woman mean anything other than a pitiful creature who follows her husband like a dark shadow remaining silent and obeying him at all times, granted a body only to deliver more children, perhaps even in competition with her husband’s other wives?