In this collection, Arab and Arab American feminists enlist their intimate experiences to challenge simplistic and long-held assumptions about gender, sexuality, and commitments to feminism and justice-centered struggles. Contributors hail from multiple geographical sites, spiritualities, occupations, sexualities, class backgrounds, and generations. Poets, creative writers, artists, scholars, and activists employ a mix of genres to express feminist issues and highlight how Arab and Arab American feminist perspectives simultaneously inhabit multiple, overlapping, and intersecting spaces: within families and communities; in anticolonial and antiracist struggles; in debates over spirituality and the divine; within radical, feminist, and queer spaces; in academia and on the street; and between each other.
Contributors explore themes as diverse as the intersections between gender, sexuality, Orientalism, racism, Islamophobia, and Zionism, and the restoration of Arab Jews to Arab American histories. This book asks how members of diasporic communities navigate their sense of belonging when the country in which they live wages wars in the lands of their ancestors. Arab and Arab American Feminisms opens up new possibilities for placing grounded Arab and Arab American feminist perspectives at the center of gender studies, Middle East studies, American studies, and ethnic studies.
Rabab Abdulhadi is associate professor of ethnic studies and senior scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative at San Francisco State University. She is the coauthor of Mobilizing Democracy: Changing U.S. Policy in the Middle East.
Mohja Kahf is an associate professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Arkansas. Kahf is a poet, novelist, and activist for the Syrian Revolution, which she tweets for @ProfKahf. Her books include Emails from Scheherezade, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, and Western Representations of the Muslim Woman: From Termagant to Odalisque.
Happy/L.A. Hyder is a visual artist, writer and performer. Born to Lebanese parents in Massachusetts, she's lived in San Francisco since 1969. Hyder made her first foray to Lebanon a year ago, returning with images of exquisite beauty and with the desire to return for a deeper exploration of home through images and writing. A few examples of her long-time activism include speaking about anti-Arab racism at the Dynamics of Color conference on racism in the lesbian community (1989), founding/directing LVA : Lesbians in the Visual Arts (1990-2003), and sharing thoughts on the iconography of family images and the impact of making art at the Arab American Museum's DIWAN conference (2009).