Arab American drama post 9/11: cultural discourses of an othered identity

Ali, Roaa (2015). Arab American drama post 9/11: cultural discourses of an othered identity. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The events of 9/11 deeply impacted the Arab American community, initiating a renewed Orientalist narrative that framed them as the “enemy within”. This thesis examines how Arab American playwrights are reclaiming their voice and agency to offer narratives of self-representation that unsettle and counter the discourse of Otherness that entraps them. Through an exploration of selected Arab American plays, this thesis examines the newly articulated Arab American identity, which aims to transcend an either/or dichotomy, despite being positioned on the periphery. Focusing on the racial, national, social, gender and sexual components of Arab American identity, this thesis problematises definitions of the “suspect” Arab, the “sexual” Arab and the “victimised” Arab woman and homosexual. It further questions the politics of visibility/invisibility influencing Arab American playwrights and theatre platforms as they attempt to defy their marginal positioning. It investigates the possibility of alternative theatrical spaces where Arab American playwrights can overstep the political and cultural limitations/demarcations imposed on them by a hegemonic “multicultural” discourse that privileges whiteness. In doing so, it celebrates the emergence of a resistant discourse within an Arab American theatre movement that liberates Arab American identity from Otherness.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
P Language and Literature > PS American literature


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