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Setting the record straight about Arab American culture

Arabs in America

Building a New Future

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edited by Michael W. Suleiman

"The publication of this dense, rich, and detailed 355-page book, which contains a fine collection of studies, is therefore a welcome and valuable addition to the existing literature. ...this book fills an important gap and should be on the reading list of any course on ethnic relations."
Journal of International Migration and Integration

For many North Americans, Arab-Americans are invisible, recalled only when words like "terrorism" or "anti-American sentiments" arise. However, people of Arab descent have been contributing to U.S. and Canadian culture since the 1870's in fields as diverse as literature, science, politics, medicine, and commerce—witness surgeon Michael DeBakey, former Oregon governor Victor Atiyeh, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, and Canadian M.P. Mac Harb. Yet, while Arab-American contributions to our society are significant and Arab-Americans surpass the U.S. average in both education and economics, they still struggle for recognition and acceptance.

In this volume, editor Michael Suleiman brings together 21 prominent scholars from a wide range of perspectives—including anthropology, economics, history, law, literature and culture, political science, and sociology—to take a close look at the status of Arabs in North America. Topics range from the career of Arab-American singer, dancer, and storyteller Wadeeha Atiyeh to a historical examination of Arab-Americans and Zionism. The contributors discuss an assortment of different communities—a Palestinian refugee community in Detroit, a group of well-educated Jordanian men, and the Shi'a Muslims—in order to illustrate the range of Arab émigré experience. More broadly, they examine Arabs in the legal system, youth and family, health and welfare, as well as Arab-American identity, political activism, and attempts by Arab immigrants to achieve respect and recognition in their new homes. They address both the present situation for Arab-Americans and prospects for their future.

Arabs in America will engage anyone interested in Arab-American studies, ethnic studies, and American studies.

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Excerpt

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).

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Reviews

"...important, challenging collection of essays. ...There is much new and compelling material in this anthology. ...No one has a better grasp of the occasionally odd, even bizarre experience of Americans of Arab extraction than Michael Suleiman."
Journal of Palestinian Studies

"...this work is generally a valuable addition to the growing literature on Arabs in the United States...and Canada."
Journal of American Ethnic History

"This new collection moves scholarship on Arab Americans well beyond traditional accounts of immigrant adaptation to American society. Arab Americans, as many contributors lament, have been marginal to narratives of multiculturalism in America. But this current research points to the relevance of Arab Americans to our understandings of immigrant-host society relationships, racial hierarchies, and ideologies of citizenship."
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

"...has a number of fine articles..."
Middle East Quarterly

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Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Arab American Immigrant Experience – Michael W. Suleiman

Part I: Profiles of Specific Communities
1. Attachment and Identity: The Palestinian Community of Detroit – May Seikaly
2. Jordanian Migrants in Texas and Ohio: The Quest for Education and Work in A Global Society – Richard T. Antoun
3. A Look at Differing Ideologies among Shi'a Muslims in the United States – Linda S. Walbridge

Part II: Arabs and the American Legal System
4. Arabs and the American Legal System: Cultural and Political Ramifications – Fatima Agha Al-Hayani
5. A Closer Look at Anti-Terrorism Law: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee v. Reno and the Construction of Aliens' Rights – Kathleen M. Moore
6. Legal Perspectives on Arabs and Muslims in U.S. Courts – Mohamed Mattar

Part III: Youth and the Family
7. Teens-Between: The Public and Private Spheres of Arab-Canadian Adolescents – Sharon McIrvin Abu-Laban and Baha Abu-Laban
8. Family and Ethnic Identity in an Arab-American Community – Kristine Ajrouch
9. Arab-Canadian Youth in Immigrant Family Life – Baha Abu-Laban and Sharon McIrvin Abu-Laban

Part IV: Health and Welfare Issues
10. Arab-American Health and the Process of Coming to America: Lessons from the Metropolitan Detroit Area – Rosina Hassoun
11. Attitudes of Arab Immigrants Toward Welfare – Barbara S. Aswad
12. The Deteriorating Ethnic Safety Net Among Arab Immigrants in Chicago – Louise Cainkar

Part V: Political Activism
13. Not Quite White: Race Classification and the Arab-American Experience – Helen Hatab Samhan
14. Debating Palestine: Arab-American Challenges to Zionism, 1917-1932 – Lawrence Davidson
15. Community and Political Activism Among Arab Americans in Detroit – Janice J. Terry

Part VI: Arab-American Identity Negotiations
16. Against the Grain of the Nation—The Arab – Suad Joseph
17. Far-Off and Fascinating Things: Wadeeha Atiyeh and Images of Arabs in the American Popular Theater, 1930 - 1950 – Lori Anne Salem
18. Arabs in Canada: Assimilation or Integration? – Ibrahim Hayani
19. Resisting Invisibility: Arab-Americans in Academia and Activism – Therese Saliba
20. Arab-American Ethnicity: Location, Coalitions, and Cultural Negotiations – Lisa Suhair Majaj

About the Contributors
Index

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About the Author(s)

Michael W. Suleiman is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. He has written and co-edited numerous works in the field of Arab American studies, including U.S. Policy on Palestine from Wilson to Clinton and Arab Americans: Continuity and Change.

Contributors: Baha Abu-Laban, Sharon McIrvin Abu-Laban, Khristine Ajrouch, Fatima Agha Al-Hayani, Richard T. Antoun, Barbara C. Aswad, Louise Cainkar, Lawrence Davidson, Rosina Hassoun, Ibrahim Hayani, Suad Joseph, Lisa Suhair Majaj, Mohammed Mattar, Kathleen M. Moore, Lori Anne Salem, Therese Saliba, Helen Hatab Samhan, May Seikaly, Janice J. Terry, Linda S. Walbridge, and the editor.

Subject Categories

Race and Ethnicity
General Interest

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