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Download PDF by Jacob Rama Berman: American Arabesque: Arabs and Islam in the Nineteenth

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 principally unexplored exchanges among those cultural traditions that might regulate how we comprehend them at the present time.

 

Moving from the interval of America’s engagement within the Barbary Wars in the course of the Holy Land trip mania within the years of Jacksonian enlargement and into the writings of romantics akin to Edgar Allen Poe, the ebook argues that not just have been Arabs and Muslims prominently featured in nineteenth-century literature, yet that the variations writers verified among figures resembling Moors, Bedouins, Turks and Orientals supply evidence of the transnational scope of family racial politics. Drawing on either English and Arabic language assets, Berman contends that the fluidity and instability of the time period Arab because it seems in captivity narratives, trip narratives, inventive literature, and ethnic literature concurrently instantiate and undermine definitions of the yank state and American citizenship.

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The chapter centers on the birth of the Moorish Science Temple; its founder, Drew Ali; and his New Age religious text, The Circle Seven Koran. Drew Ali’s co-option of Moorish identity, Islamic 28 Introduction history, and Moroccan nationality is contextualized by discourses surrounding the New Negro and the Harlem Renaissance.  B. DuBois’s and McKay’s treatments of AraboIslamic culture, as well as the coverage of the Moors in the black press. The chapter argues that the variations in these different writers’ representation of Arabs, Islam, and Morocco speak directly to central debates in black uplift discourse about the politics of respectability, as well as to key class divides between the talented-tenth and street-level black-empowerment movements.

Diplomat, and student of Arabic, Turkish, and Lingua Franca), chapter 1 examines how Barbary was used rhetorically to interrogate the meaning and limitation of untested terms such as democracy, equality, liberty, and patriotism in the American context. The result is not only the importation of Barbary types into American racial maps but also the creation of cross-cultural comparisons that can be mined, retrospectively, for evidence of the nation’s nascent multicultural consciousness. 20 Introduction John Foss, a sailor captured by the Regency of Algiers in 1793, demonstrates the relationships between America and North Africa that Barbary captivity narratives established for their readers.

Quinn and his fellow sailors had deployed to Barbary aboard an American ship rhetorically positioned as fighting tyranny and freeing slaves. Yet it is American commodores and captains he accuses of tyranny and slave driving. The Marine hymn subsumes contradictions between the American rhetoric of liberty and the American history of bondage by appealing to the national fantasy of America’s historical commitment to freedom. In other words, the hymn reinterprets the Mameluke sword, translating it into an affective iteration of American national identity.

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