By Jacob Rama Berman
American Arabesque examines representations of Arabs, Islam and the close to East in nineteenth-century American tradition, arguing that those representations play an important function within the improvement of yank nationwide id over the century, revealing mostly unexplored exchanges among those cultural traditions that might adjust how we comprehend them this day.
Moving from the interval of America’s engagement within the Barbary Wars throughout the Holy Land trip mania within the years of Jacksonian enlargement and into the writings of romantics resembling Edgar Allen Poe, the booklet argues that not just have been Arabs and Muslims prominently featured in nineteenth-century literature, yet that the variations writers demonstrated among figures akin to Moors, Bedouins, Turks and Orientals supply facts of the transnational scope of household racial politics. Drawing on either English and Arabic language resources, Berman contends that the fluidity and instability of the time period Arab because it seems to be in captivity narratives, go back and forth narratives, resourceful literature, and ethnic literature at the same time instantiate and undermine definitions of the yankee country and American citizenship.
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Additional resources for American Arabesque: Arabs and Islam in the Nineteenth Century Imaginary
35 A mameluke is a slave or possession of someone, but a malik (derived from the same verbal root) is a king, and mulk is something that Ibn Khaldun theorized as natural kingship. In practice, the Mameluke dynasty combined these seemingly opposed states of being: they were both slaves and kings, both victims and administrators of imperialism. No man could become a Mameluke ruler who had not first been a Mameluke slave. The janissary body of the Mamelukes was not hereditary and theoretically could only be refreshed with new orphans.
These theories of unicity receive especially poignant expressions in Islamic mysticism and the writings of Sufis such as Ibn Arabi. In translating an Arabo-Islamic referent into an instantiation of American literary nationalism, Poe not only strips the term of its original signification; he also fundamentally alters his audience’s understanding of the term’s cultural-historical significance to Muslims. Placing Poe’s arabesque in an intercultural context, however, creates the possibility for appreciating how American and Arab cultural values interanimate each other.
A Pattern of Representation Chapter 1 focuses on the figure of the captive and argues for the discursive importance of North African slavery to the articulation of Federalera American national identity. American captives in Barbary slavery extended Revolutionary War narratives on bondage and freedom to make arguments for their country’s obligation to ransom them. In the process of claiming their own constitutional rights, these predominantly white, working-class sailors used Barbary types to establish comparisons Introduction 19 Figure 2.
American Arabesque: Arabs and Islam in the Nineteenth Century Imaginary by Jacob Rama Berman