Nadine Naber

Nadine Naber is professor of gender and women’s studies and global Asian studies, and interim director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author and/or co-editor of five books, including Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism (NYU Press, 2012) and Color of Violence (Duke University Press, 2016). She is a TEDx speaker, board member of the Arab American Action Network, co-founder of Mamas Activating Movements for Abolition and Solidarity, founder of Liberate Your Research, founder of the Arab American Cultural Center, and co-founder of the Arab and Muslim American Studies Program (University of Michigan). Nadine is a Public Voices fellow, columnist for the Chicago Reporter, recipient of the American Studies Association Carl Bode-Norman Holmes Pearson Lifetime Achievement Prize and the YWCA's Y-Women's Leadership Award.

Organizing After the Odeh Verdict

On November 4, 2014, the US Department of Justice put Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh on trial for allegedly lying on her naturalization application ten years earlier, when she did not indicate that the Israeli state arrested, convicted, and imprisoned her in 1969. On October 27, foreshadowing the injustices to come, Judge Gershwin Drain ruled that Odeh could not speak of her imprisonment in Israel.

Imperial Feminism, Islamophobia, and the Egyptian Revolution

Often ignored in U.S. discussions on Egypt is how protests led by labor unions—many women-based labor unions in the manufacturing cities of Egypt—have catalyzed the Egyptian revolution (Paul Amar, 02-05-11). The women now holding down Tahrir Square as we speak—are of all ages and social groups and their struggle cannot be explained through Orientalist tropes that reduce Arab women to passive victims of culture or religion or Islam.

Arab Americans and U.S. Racial Formations

Up until the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, several Arab American writers used the trope “invisibility” to refer to the place of Arab Americans within dominant U.S. discourses on race and ethnicity. A common theme in this literature was that while most government definitions classify Arab Americans as “white,” popular U.S. discourses tend to represent “Arabs” as different from and inferior to whites. Exemplifying this perspective, Helen Samhan referred to the racialization of Arab Americans within U.S. govern­ment racial schemas as “white, but not quite” (1999); Joanna Kadi argued that Arab Americans are the “most invisible of the invisibles” (1994); Therese Saliba published the essay “Resisting Invisibility: Arab Americans in Academia and Activism” (1999); and Nada Elia used the trope “the white sheep of the fam­ily” to analyze the ways in which Arab American women have been positioned among U.S. women of color feminist movements (2002).

Arab American Femininities: Beyond Arab Virgin/American(ized) Whore

As I listened to my mother,1 I recalled several experiences growing up within a bicultural Arab American familial and communal context. Al Amerikan (Americans) were often referred to in derogatory sexualized terms. It was the trash culture—degenerate, morally bankrupt, and not worth investing in. Al Arab (Arabs), on the other hand, were referred to positively and associated with Arab family values and hospitality. Similarly, throughout the period of my ethnographic research among middle-class Arab American family and community networks in San Francisco, California,2 between January 1999 and August 2001, the theme of female sexuality circumscribed the ways my research participants imagined and contested culture, identity, and belonging.