Consuming Orientalism: Public Foodways of Arab American Christians
Keywords:Orientalism, Arab American, foodways, self-Orientalism, Arab American Christians, Foodways, Arab Americans, Antiochian Orthodox, self-Orientalist imagery, Cultural identity, restaurants, Festival, Edward Said, liberal multiculturalism, Arab American studies, cultural analysis, stereotypes
AbstractFor more than a century, Arab Americans have resorted to self-Orientalism to secure their place in the U.S. multicultural arena as “authentic” others. My essay focuses on the strategic use of self-Orientalist imagery and rhetoric within Arab American Christian communities, specifically at restaurants and church-sponsored festivals. Following the long line of scholars that have mobilized and modified Edward Said’s framework, my use of the term self-Orientalism refers to the ways that Arab Americans have strategically deployed Orientalist imagery and rhetoric as a representational practice within liberal multiculturalism. My essay also intervenes in the field of Arab American studies in two key ways: by arguing for the importance of foodways as site of cultural analysis, and by focusing on how Arab Americans have themselves interacted with and deployed stereotypical representations.
Copyright (c) 2014 Matthew Jaber Stiffler
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