Playing East: Arabs Perform in Nineteenth Century America
Keywords Arab performers, nineteenth century, America, United States, Syrians, Lebanese, diaspora, North Africans, Orientalism, Arabs, peddler, entertainment, Syrian Christians
AbstractThis article explores the practice, widespread among the diasporic Syrians and North Africans of the nineteenth century, of pretending to be Arabs. “Arabs” were astute purveyors of Orientalism, both in entertainment and in trade. Syrian peddlers and merchants played the Orientalist card because they knew it would help sell their goods. In this paper, I concentrate on those Arabs who made a living entertaining Americans in the nineteenth century by dressing up. Entertainment ran the gamut from stage performance like vaudeville and circus acts to high-toned lectures, with the former being dominated by North Africans and the latter by Syrian Christians. Orientalism sold, and every Arab knew it and exploited it.
How to Cite
JACOBS, Linda. Playing East: Arabs Perform in Nineteenth Century America. Mashriq&Mahjar, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 2, p. 79-110, jan. 2015. ISSN 2169-4435. Available at: <https://lebanesestudies.ojs.chass.ncsu.edu/index.php/mashriq/article/view/41>. Date accessed: 20 apr. 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.24847/22i2014.41.
Lebanese Immigration; Syrian Immigration; North African Immigration; Nineteenth Century; Entertainers; Orientalism; Auto-orientalism
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, which allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
The content of this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.