Shifting Paradigm of Postcolonial Theory: Internal Concerns of Post-2000 Anglophone Arab Fiction

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alenezi, Majed
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Middle Tennessee State University
Anglophone Arab fiction flourishes after the September attack9/11., central Central to this expansion is are the socio-political changes in the aftermath of 9/11 the September 11 attacks not only at on the international scene but also at the local level within the Arab/Muslim world. Essential toParalleling this expansion is a shift from the traditional postcolonial discourse toward Arab nation’s internal issues. This dissertation, henceforth, studies the new tendencies in the narrative style and thematic structure of four novels written in the aftermath of 9/11 by Arab-Anglo writers: Saleem Haddad’s Guapa, Fadia Faqir’s Willow Trees Don’t Weep, Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, and Yasmine El Rashidi’s Chronicle of a Last Summer. Rather than echoing the outmoded “writing back” paradigm, the Arab-Anglo writers, due to the geopolitical changes as a result of 9/11, have taken up specific social and political concerns through their writings and offer a trenchant commentary on issues of indigenous and international significance. Moving away from postcolonial political awareness, the Arab-Anglo writers provide a critical perspective on some important contemporary issues facing the Arab nations like misuse of religious discourse, sectarianism, terrorism, feminism, class struggle, political rights and democracy, and the fragmentation of the Arab society. All these themes have become essential elements in some of the major Anglo-Arab fiction as a result of the instability in the Arab world at the social and political platforms. By contextualizing the work of Anglo-Arab novelists in their nation’s international socio-political ruptures, thise study also attempts to dislodge postcolonial theory/discourse from its infinite obligation to colonial legacies through turning to the representation of internal concerns in the Arab world and at the same time exposing the rifts and blind spots in postcolonial theory as we consider issues relevant to the lived reality on the 21st century. In focusing on postcolonial theory, this dissertation – in addition to highlighting the limitations of the theory– accentuates the need for both postcolonial critics and literary scholars to develop critical and theoretical tools that go beyond outdated Western-centric models to deal with Anglophone Arab texts in the wake of geopolitical circumstances and challenges.