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Title:Nations without nationalisms: on Palestinian and American Indian literary imaginations
Author(s):Ghanayem, Eman
Director of Research:Byrd, Jodi A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Byrd, Jodi A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Howe, LeAnne; Koshy, Susan; Nguyen, Mimi Thi; Naber, Nadine
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Indigenous North America
settler colonialism
literary resistance
Abstract:“Nations without Nationalisms: On Palestinian and American Indian Literary Imaginations” approaches settler colonialism as a story that exhibits complex identity politics, competing concepts of humanity, and overlapping narratives of diaspora and trauma. It is also a story that is constantly disputed by Indigenous presence and decolonial and international movements of resistance. I explore indigeneity as a category of identification to better understand forced and voluntary migrations and what constitutes the concepts of settler, refugee, and migrant in the United States and Israel. Building on an interpretive framework that situates Indigenous theory alongside Palestine studies, my dissertation has two major arguments. First, I critique settler nationalism and approach the United States and Israel as exhibiting a discursive allegiance to each other and, more broadly, to European principles of nationhood. I develop this analysis by drawing a transnational web of literary exchanges in the nineteenth century that includes Emma Lazarus, George Eliot, Mordecai Noah, Theodor Herzl, and Israel Zangwill. Second, I argue that Indigenous nations, as land-based collectives that have functioned without statehood, intervene in popular assumptions that the nation-state is the only form of legitimate belonging. Here, I analyze expressions of indigeneity in Palestinian and American Indian writings towards conceptualizing “Indigenous literature” as a global literary genre with shared literary patterns and significant political interventions. Approaching this genre comparatively, I analyze representations of being, land, and political movement as an Indigenous literary modulation of character, setting, and plot, and as they unfold in the writings of Mahmoud Darwish, Samih Al-Qasim, Suheir Hammad, Steven Salaita, Leanne Simpson, and LeAnne Howe. As it exists today, U.S. scholarship can benefit from incorporating a global narrativization of indigeneity and ongoing colonialisms and attending more closely to their cultural nuances. Furthermore, learning from Palestine as a microcosmic example of modern-day settlement, exile, and ethnic conflict can help us understand the precarious relationship between displacement and nationalism in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world.
Issue Date:2020-07-10
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Eman Ghanayem
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-07
Date Deposited:2020-08

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