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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Displacement and the negotiation of an American identity in African Muslim slave narratives
by Dabovic, Safet, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2009, 246; 3401700
Abstract (Summary)

African Muslim slave narratives are the earliest forms of Islamic writing in the United States. Figures like Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, Ibrahima Abd ar-Rahman, Omar ibn Said, Bilali Mohammed, Salih Bilali, Lamena Kebe, Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua and Nicholas Said endured the horrors of the Middle Passage and came to the Americas as literate products of a proud West African educational system. They negotiated the complex political, social and racial terrain of the Americas by producing slave narratives, sometimes in English and other times in Arabic, in order to inscribe their active negotiations of western modernity. Although their narratives contain the conventions typically found in traditional slave narratives, there are marked differences in form and content that move away from the basic formula of the double quest for literacy and freedom and require us to use alternative theoretical frameworks.

I deploy the notion of displacement as a way to read these African Muslim slave narratives. Simply put, displacement involves the sense of forced relocation that diasporic figures experience and their subsequent creative adaptations, inventive expressions, and hybridizations of dominant discourses. I rely on works by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Stuart Hall, Angelica Bammer, Edouard Glissant and Homi Bhabha to argue that, in order to respond to the transformations caused by their displacement, African Muslim narrators produced complicated expressive texts that problematize national and religious boundaries, requiring us to expand the traditional methodologies of reading slave narratives.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Scheckel, Susan
School: State University of New York at Stony Brook
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Black studies, Islamic Studies, American literature
Keywords: African, Displacement, Identity, Muslim, Slave narratives
Publication Number: 3401700
ISBN: 978-1-109-69045-3
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