Between the Middle East and the Americas takes a transnational cultural studies approach to examining the different and contradictory significations of the Middle East in North America, South America, and Europe within a cross-cultural perspective. Coming from different cultural sites in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Denmark, and France, and addressing a wide range of themes, these essays point to an assemblage of meanings that shift depending on the historical moment and geographic/cultural context. They illuminate a contradictory field of meaning, one where Muslims can be figured as terrorists in the dominant discourse of the United States, or as corrupt businessmen in that of Latin America, yet where such dominant discourses can also be challenged, for example, by Arab American hip hop or by Arab Chilean media.
Alsultany, Shohat, and their contributors engage the question of “cultural politics” or “the politics of culture” to unravel the ways in which identities become sites of contestation in the context of national narratives and transnational cultural flows. This collection also challenges the area studies model in which each geographical area is examined within the confines of its borders, proposing a shift from area studies to both inter-area studies and transnational studies. Transcending a nation-state approach, the book aims to begin a transnational conversation about the production of discourses of Middle Eastern identities across time and space.
Reviews of Between the Middle East and the Americas
- Juan Poblette, “Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora,” Mashriq & Mahjar, Vol. 2, Iss. 1, Spring/Summer 2014, 166-170: Alsultany_Shohat_Mashriq and Mahjar Review 2014.
- “New Texts Out Now: Evelyn Alsultany and Ella Shohat, Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora, Jadaliyya, June 26, 2013: Alsultany_Shohat_ Jadaliyya Interview 2013.
- Choice Review, “Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora,” Choice, October 2013, 242.