By Suad Joseph
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Extra info for Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, Volume 5 - Practices, Interpretations and Representations
It seems to be the literary fate of transplanted immigrants in general to sacriﬁce some essential human dignity in the uprooting process, and indeed the quest to rediscover that lost dignity appears recurrently as a theme in novels of return to the country of origin. In Kathryn Abdul-Baki’s Tower of Dreams, and in Naomi Shihab Nye’s Habibi, a young American girl returns with her Arab father and American mother to the “old country” and 25 tries to adapt to the unaccustomed expectations and restrictions of Muslim culture, particularly when it comes to interactions with the opposite sex.
Lebanese singers Asmahàn (1940s) and Íabà™ (1950s to 1960s), Algerian singer Warda al-Jazà±iriyya, and very recently Tunisian actress Hind Íabrì came to fame through Egyptian ﬁlms. Tunisia has produced numerous well-trained and highly gifted actresses, despite the fact that Haydée Chikly, who featured in the ﬁrst two Tunisian ﬁlms, the short Zahara and the full-length Ayn alghazàl (The Girl from Carthage, 1924), directed by her father Albert Chikly, could not obtain her 31 family’s agreement to become a professional.
North america the experiences of American converts to Islam, particularly African Americans, barely represented in the literature at present, can be expected eventually to bring a signiﬁcantly different perspective and history to the ﬁeld. Azizah Magazine carries occasional short ﬁction in that vein. The focus of this entry is women writers of Muslim heritage writing in English and living in North America, whether foreign-born or secondgeneration. For immigrants, the choice of English as the language of literary expression rather than their mother tongue is in itself a marker of self-identiﬁcation and of the choice of the Western reader as privileged interlocutor, but both groups share the markers of a transitional identity that straddles more than one culture and mediates alternative realities of remembered worlds and American actualities.
Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, Volume 5 - Practices, Interpretations and Representations by Suad Joseph