“BESOTTED WITH THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF IMPERIALISM”:? ARAB SUBJECTIVITY CONSTRUCTED AGAINST NEW YORK’S MANY FACES* MICHELLE HARTMAN McGill University Abstract This article reads symbolism and imagery related to New York City in Y‚suf Idr¬s’s New York 80 , Ad‚n¬s’s Qabr min ajl New York , and Ra¥w® Æ§sh‚r’s Al-RiΩla , to advance two interrelated arguments about the formulation of a positive, modern Arab subjectivity. Firstly, though all of the texts criticize the United States and set up an opposition between the Arab self and the US other, none of the texts merely inscribes a simplistic self-other dichotomy. Analyzing this allows a more complex notion of Arab subjectivity to emerge. Secondly, gendered symbolism and imagery are manipulated in these texts and thus gender analyses are crucial to exploring the articulations of Arab subjectivity in these works. The desire of [New York’s] people to open up to new markets and new worlds elevated its economic situation as high as its skyscrapers — this is one of New York’s many faces. But there are many other faces that we see in lit- erary works, Arab travelogues, and collections of old letters and pho- tographs . . . and stories. — Rab¬Æ
Journal of Arabic Literature – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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