Consuming Orientalism: Public Foodways of Arab American Christians

  • Matthew Jaber Stiffler
Keywords Orientalism, foodways, Arab American Christians, Arab Americans, self-Orientalist imagery, restaurants, Edward Said, liberal multiculturalism, Arab American studies, cultural analysis, stereotypes


For 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.
How to Cite
STIFFLER, Matthew Jaber. Consuming Orientalism: Public Foodways of Arab American Christians. Mashriq&Mahjar, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 2, p. 111-138, jan. 2015. ISSN 2169-4435. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 apr. 2019. doi:


Arab American; self-Orientalism; Foodways; Antiochian Orthodox; Cultural identity; Festival