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The othered ‘Other’ in cross-cultural encounters: Redefining Homi Bhabha’s theory of third space in the case of Arab American women’s narratives before and after September 11, 2001

Al Ghamdi, Alaa 2023. The othered ‘Other’ in cross-cultural encounters: Redefining Homi Bhabha’s theory of third space in the case of Arab American women’s narratives before and after September 11, 2001. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The narratives produced by Arab American women authors inhabit a unique in-between place within the clash between the West and the East. Binary political, racial, cultural, and gendered elements are at stake when Arab American women negotiate their ethnic, hybrid and gendered identity. This, eventually, leads them to negotiate aspects of their identity in what Homi Bhabha terms the Third Space of encounter between different groups of power, where both groups are offered a space for communication, articulation, and negotiation to articulate their identities, resulting in demolishing binary oppositions and superiority- inferiority relationships. However, given the complicated historical and contemporary clash between the two worlds, gaps in Bhabha’s theory are evident in the case of contemporary Arab American women narratives. The intersectional nature of their experience as Arab, American, woman and writer intensifies their ambivalent space between the two worlds, marking them as the Othered Other and placing them at the margin of both centres, the American society, and the Arab American community. Thus, my PhD project argues against the utopian tone of Bhabha’s definition of Third Space, reveals the gaps using the narratives of Arab American women and redefines it to cover the intersectionality of Arab American women identities. This thesis reveals the limitations of Bhabha’s theory of Third Space as it oscillates between the genres of fiction and non-fiction while highlighting the different immigration status of the characters in the examined texts. This thesis draws its temporal parameters between the periods before and after September 11, 2001 (i.e., 1990s to the 2010s), as this timeframe witnessed the emergence of a solidified Arab American identity in the face of the dominant discriminatory discourses resulting from the various political and social clashes between the Arab world and America at the time.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 August 2023
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2023 15:28
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/161566

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