Writing While Arab: Politics, Hyphens, and Homelands
RAWI – the Radius of Arab American Writers, Inc. – is organizing its second national conference in Dearborn, Michigan on May 17-20, 2007 at the Arab American National Museum. The conference welcomes RAWI members and others who are interested in engaging in the Arab American literary community. The conference will provide a venue to present our writings and ideas to one another and to the Detroit and Arab communities. Our gathering will offer an opportunity for colleagues to share strategies for publishing and circulating our work and also for confronting academic, community, and political barriers.
This year’s conference theme, “Writing While Arab: Politics, Hyphens, and Homelands,” seeks to address the multiple challenges Arab American writers face in an intensified post-9/11 climate. How is Arab American writing impacted by the targeting of Arabs (and Muslims) as the national enemy inside and outside of the U.S. and by the wars waged in our homelands? How do politics influence our writing – we are not only referring to how political events in the Middle East and the U.S. inform our writing, but also the politics around the circulation of our writing. Are some Arab American writers benefiting from self-commodification and perpetuating Arab stereotypes? What kinds of narratives receive wide circulation and which do not? Is writing a form of political activism? How do RAWI members write out these tensions?
The organizing committee is accepting proposals for individual papers, entire sessions, presentations, performances, films, roundtables, workshops, conversations, and other non-traditional formats that address the theme of Arab American writing. All genres welcome – memoir, children’s writing, poetry, performance, journalism, translation, fiction, blogs, spoken word, creative non-fiction, academic writing, screenwriting,
playwriting, etc. Proposals are welcome from those who are published
and non-published, teachers and students, activists, publishers, historians, journalists, artists, novelists, filmmakers – experienced and beginners.
Topics may include but are not limited to the following:
Writing about War: How have Arab American writings been
influenced by the crises in Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon?
The Politics of Publishing While Arab: What kinds of challenges have Arab American writers faced in publishing? Is the nature of these challenges exclusively political?
Beyond Coffee and Grape Leaves: What is the significance of Arab American writers
working within these cultural motifs? What are their limitations?
Conversations with other Hyphenated Writers: A dialogue with
South Asian American, African-American, Latino, Asian American, and
Native American writers.
Poetic Textual Analysis: How do Arab American poetry, fiction, drama, and
non-fiction perform aesthetically as works of art and as literary document?
The Arab Blogosphere: How have blogs become an important site for Arab American writing?
Mentoring and Offering Publishing Advice: What advice can experiences writers and editors offer to those who are starting out?
Crossing Over & Bending Genres: Exploring the role of creative nonfiction, academic poetic writing, and other innovative forms of writing
For individual submissions, please send a one-page abstract of
approximately 250 words. For collective submissions please provide
panel/roundtable/workshop title, list of presenters, and an abstract for the
session that includes a description of what each individual will
present. Please send your RAWI conference proposals as Word attachments
via e-mail to Evelyn Alsultany (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Deborah
Alkamano (email@example.com) by December 1, 2006. Please include a
1-page resume or CV for each presenter.
University of Michigan
Henry Ford Community College
firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at http://www.rawi.org
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