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Arab Detroit

From Margin to Mainstream

Edited by Nabeel Abraham and Andrew Shryock

Cultural Studies, Detroit

Great Lakes Books Series

Published: August 2000
ISBN: 9780814328125
Pages: 630 Size: 6x9
Illustrations: 52 black and white images
Published: August 2000
ISBN: 9780814339787

In Arab Detroit, Nabeel Abraham and Andrew Shryock have made an important contribution to immigrant studies, while providing a work that is easily accessible to the general public.

— Michigan Historical Review

Metropolitan Detroit is home to one of the largest, most diverse Arab communities outside the Middle East, yet the complex world Arabic-speaking immigrants have created there is barely visible on the landscape of ethnic America. In this volume, Nabeel Abraham and Andrew Shryock bring together the work of twenty-five contributors to create a richly detailed portrait of Arab Detroit. The book goes behind the bulletproof glass in Iraqi Chaldean liquor stores. It explores the role of women in a Sunni mosque and the place of nationalist politics in a Coptic church. It follows the careers of wedding singers, Arabic calligraphers,restaurant owners, and pastry chefs. It examines the agendas of Shia Muslim activists and Washington-based lobbyists and looks at the intimate politics of marriage, family honor, and adolescent rebellion. Memoirs and poems by Lebanese, Chaldean, Yemeni, and Palestinian writers anchor the book in personal experience, while over fifty photographs provide a backdrop of vivid, often unexpected, images. In their efforts to represent an ethnic/immigrant community that is flourishing on the margins of pluralist discourse, the contributors to this book break new ground in the study of identity politics, transnationalism, and diaspora cultures.

Nabeel Abraham teaches anthropology at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Michigan, where he also serves as director of the Honors Program. He is co-editor of Arabs in the New World: Studies on Arab-American Communities (Center for Urban Studies, Wayne State University, 1983).

Andrew Shryock is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the author of Nationalism and the Genealogical Imagination: Oral History and Textual Authority in Tribal Jordan (University of California Press, 1997).

Contributors Include:
Nabeel Abraham, Saladin Ahmed, Shams Alwujude, T. M. Aziz, Hayan Charara, Gary C. David, Jeffrey Ghannam, Sharkey Haddad, Lara Hamza, Sally Howell, Richard R. Jones, Lawrence Joseph, William G. Lockwood, Yvonne R. Lockwood, Alixa Naff, Naomi Shihab Nye, Kevin Rashid, Marilynn Rashid, Anne Rasmussen, Karen Rignall, Amira Saad, Kim Schopmeyer, Andrew Shryock, Don Unis, Linda S. Walbridge

In Arab Detroit, Nabeel Abraham and Andrew Shryock have made an important contribution to immigrant studies, while providing a work that is easily accessibleto the general public.

– Michigan Historical Review

Mixing analytical pieces with evocative personal accounts and poetry, [Arab Detroit] stresses the diversity of Detroit's Arab population, breaking down stereotypes about Arabs in general and those in Detroit in particular. The personal voices speak with a freshness and immediacy, and the volume as a whole has a clear theoretical edge over much of the work being done in immigration studies, religious studies, and Muslim American studies.

– Karen Leonard, University of California, Irvine

There has never been a more urgent need for understanding [the Arab American] community. Nabeel Abraham's and Andrew Shyrock's book provides a much needed portrait of its most vital centers. The collection as a whole [presents] a larger picture of Metro Detroit as a zone where several cultural groups are in some ways mutually impacting. Shyrock and Abraham do a good job of covering the range and areas of these interactions. Sally Howell's, Anne Rasmussen's , and William and Yvonne Lockwood's respective articles on artisanship, music, and food are particularly informative . . . Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream is essential reading for anyone interested in Arab American social dynamics and in ethnic America in general.

– Mattawa; Michigan Quarterly Review

This book is by far the best on the topic. While there have been studies of Detroit and Arab Americans generally, there is no such in-depth analysis, from so many angles (food, music, religion, identity, politics, etc.) and onso many different Arab ethnic groups.

– Phillip Kayal, Seton Hall University

. . . this volume has accomplished an important task kin laying the groundwork for future studies of Arab communities in Detroit and elsewhere in America. We come away from this book with a sense of both the dimensions, diversity, and historical and generational diversions that shape life in Arab Detroit and of the development of some of its key community institutions and ethnic enterprises.

– Journal of American Ethnic History