"Hybrid Imagination: A Study of Mohja Kahf’s Emails from Scheherazade and The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf"

Hasabelnaby, Magda 


Abstract


The concepts of hybridity and "the Third Space" have considerable implications for Mohja Kahf as an Arab American and a Muslim American writer. They offer the possibility of avoiding a 'polarity' between “Arabs” and “Americans” The paper poses the following questions: Does Kahf manage to go 'beyond narratives of originary and initial subjectivities" (Bhabha, The Location 2), and to highlight the unique moments and processes that take place while cultural differences are being articulated and negotiated? How does her work contribute to an approach that avoids the perpetuation of antagonistic binarisms and develops inclusionary, not exclusionary, and multi-faceted, not dualistic, patterns of cultural exchange and maturation? The paper begins with an initial assumption that it is primarily through the imagination that Kahf is capable of actualizing Bhabha's notions of hybridity. It is the imagination, "genius, inspiration, taste, visionary power, and prophecy" (“Imagination”). Kahf s ability to disengage herself from the world of perception, I argue, is what immerses her and escorts her readers into that "third space", where "we will find words with which we can speak of Ourselves and Others. And…elude the politics of polarity (Bhabha "The Commitment" 18). The research is a crossgeneric study which attempts to shed light on the power of the imagination in Kahf s collection of poems, Emails from Scheherazade (200I), and her novel The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (2006). Explaining how the imagination has been critically appropriated to the specific situations and the two genres in which Kahf writes is a core concern of this study. Showing such imagination as hybrid, and Kahf as an author who "leap[s] the gulch between two worlds" (Kahf, "The Passing There" 60) is also a major endeavor behind this research. 


Other data

Other Titles American Literature and Intercultural Discourses
Issue Date 2017
URI http://research.asu.edu.eg/123456789/1040


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