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 position within the improvement of yankee nationwide identification over the century, revealing principally unexplored exchanges among those cultural traditions that may regulate how we comprehend them this present day.
Moving from the interval of America’s engagement within the Barbary Wars in the course of the Holy Land shuttle mania within the years of Jacksonian growth and into the writings of romantics akin to Edgar Allen Poe, the publication argues that not just have been Arabs and Muslims prominently featured in nineteenth-century literature, yet that the variations writers verified among figures corresponding to Moors, Bedouins, Turks and Orientals supply facts 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 appears to be like in captivity narratives, go back and forth narratives, inventive literature, and ethnic literature at the same time instantiate and undermine definitions of the yankee state and American citizenship.
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Additional resources for American Arabesque: Arabs and Islam in the Nineteenth Century Imaginary
The other narrative, the narrative that suggests the United States’ own history of slavery, hegemony, and imperial aggression, remains as a ghostly complement to the New World symbol that American historiography was to fashion out of Hamet’s Mameluke sword. The proceedings from the court marshal of an American sailor aboard a ship sent to the Barbary Coast during the War with Tripoli provides a telling example of the gap many Federal-era Americans felt existed between the promise of revolutionary freedom and the reality of continued American bondage, between the affect of national fantasy and the lived experience of those still occluded from the values the national fantasy promoted.
In this sense, American Arabesque insists that current discussions about the relationship between being American and being Arab have significant nineteenth-century antecedents. But beyond its genealogical function, American Arabesque challenges us to recognize that Arabs, real and imagined, have always been part of American culture. S. citizens have defined their “unique” national identity. The aesthetic sensibilities a culture produces and the market tastes these productions respond to provide invaluable information about how communities define themselves as discrete entities, as well as how they negotiate those definitions.
The Cologlies are somewhat less in stature than the Turks, and are of a more tawny complexion. The Moors are generally a tall, thin, spare set of people, not much inclining to fat, and of a very dark complexion, much like the Indians of North America. The Arabs, or Arabians, are of a much darker complexion than the Moors, being darker than Mulattoes. They are much less in stature than the Moors, being the smallest people I ever saw. . 42 Foss creates an arabesque pattern of representation by using Barbary to mirror American racial relations back to his readers.