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      The Question of Foreignness in Mohja Kahf's E-mails from Scheherazad

      research-article
      Arab Studies Quarterly
      Pluto Journals
      Kahf, Anglophone, Arab, poetry, Kristeva, foreignness
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            Abstract

            This paper examines foreignness in Mohja Kahf's poetry volume, E-mails from Scheherazad (2003), as a celebratory commodity rather than a literary trope to resist Arab women representations or to accentuate exilic voices. Drawing on Julie Kristeva's conceptualization of foreignness as internal personae and not a projection of an external locus of identity, this paper explores how the speakers in some of Kahf's poems view foreignness as festive rather than negative. In sharp contrast to the traditional conception of difference as publicly alienating, foreignness to the Arab-American speakers becomes a distinctive mark that they uphold and celebrate. Examining foreignness in Kahf's poems through Kristeva's lens provides a sense of uniqueness to the immigrant's experience. The notion of recognizing the foreigner in ourselves, that Kristeva provides, subverts the general perception of foreignness as external and intruding. Kahf's poetry can be perceived as a negotiation of foreignness, which is not an estranging element that incurs resistance but rather as a celebratory part of the human consciousness that should be jubilantly defined rather than politically defended.

            Content

            Author and article information

            Journal
            10.13169
            arabstudquar
            Arab Studies Quarterly
            Pluto Journals
            02713519
            20436920
            Summer 2014
            : 36
            : 3
            : 242-259
            Article
            arabstudquar.36.3.0242
            10.13169/arabstudquar.36.3.0242
            8e7bbd4d-fa83-456c-8628-a6791f6d01bb
            © 2014 The Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

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            Categories
            Articles

            Social & Behavioral Sciences
            poetry,foreignness,Kahf,Anglophone,Arab,Kristeva

            References

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