Ethnic Identity and Imperative Patriotism: Arab Americans before and after 9/11

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English & Comparative Literature Department

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Research Article

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College Literature

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This article will examine the effects of 9/11 on Arab Americans and other minorities. 9/11 altered nearly all aspects of American life; even the so-called restoration of "the American lifestyle" is a contrived metamorphosis given the deliberate manner in which American leaders urged its convalescence. 9/11 and its aftermath leave social critics with a remarkably broad range of issues to examine, primary among them a more patriotic? some might say more defensive? sensibility among students and educators. This sensibility is especially apropos in relation to what is often referred to as ethnic or multicultural studies. (Even though both terms are problematic, I will use the more common designation ethnic studies to describe the area studies of non-White American ethnic groups.) Ethnic critics have long invoked and then challenged centers of traditional (White) American power. They also have maintained strong ties to radical politics; ethnic critics, in fact, have been pivotal in unmasking the workings of American imperialism and in turn formulating alternative politics in response to that imperialism, both domestic and international (for instance, Edward Said, Vine Deloria, Jr., Robert Warrior, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Barbara Christian, Craig Womack, Lisa Suhair Majaj).

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