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Between Argentines and Arabs
Argentine Orientalism, Arab Immigrants, and the Writing of Identity
Between Argentines and Arabs
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Christina Civantos - Author
SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture
Price: $65.00 
Hardcover - 283 pages
Release Date: December 2005
ISBN10: 0-7914-6601-9
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6601-8

Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 283 pages
Release Date: June 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6602-7
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6602-5



Examines the presence of Arabs and the Arab world in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Argentine literature by juxtaposing works by Argentines of European descent and those written by Arab immigrants in Argentina.

Between Argentines and Arabs is a groundbreaking contribution to two growing fields: the study of immigrants and minorities in Latin America and the study of the Arab diaspora. As a literary and cultural study, this book examines the textual dialogue between Argentines of European descent and Arab immigrants to Argentina from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s.

Using methods drawn from literary analysis and cultural studies, Christina Civantos shows that the Arab presence is twofold: “the Arab” and “the Orient” are an imagined figure and space within the texts produced by Euro-Argentine intellectuals; and immigrants from the Arab world are an actual community, producing their own texts within the multiethnic Argentine nation. This book is both a literary history—of Argentine Orientalist literature and Arab-Argentine immigrant literature—and a critical analysis of how the formation of identities in these two bodies of work is interconnected.

“…Civantos provides rich descriptions and sharp analyses of foundational and marginal texts in the Argentine literary canon … the significant and timely contributions of Civantos … put Latin Americans of Arab origins on the map.” — International Journal of Middle East Studies

“This book systematically studies the presence of Arabs in both the cultural imagery and the national space of Argentina, an area not previously explored in work on Argentine language and culture. Civantos brings theoretical sophistication to the topic.” — Amy K. Kaminsky, author of After Exile: Writing the Latin American Diaspora

“Civantos makes a huge and pioneering contribution in her reading of lesser-known texts by major writers, and in her studies of the large number of Arab-Argentine writers who have often slipped out of the Argentine literary canon. The list of writers Civantos has disinterred from the dust of literary history, many of them Arab-Argentine, is truly dazzling.” — Nicolas Shumway, author of The Invention of Argentina

Christina Civantos is Assistant Professor of Languages and Literatures at the University of Miami.

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Table of Contents



INTRODUCTION Interwoven Histories, Interwoven Identities

PART I The Arab Gaucho: Historical Fictions and Fictional Histories

1. Sarmiento: The Gaucho-Bedouin Barbarian and the Performance of Barbarism

2. Lugones's El Payador and the Legacy of Moorish Blood

3. Hallar and Yaser Custom-Build the Fictions of the Nation

Coda: Menem's Self-Stylization as Arab Gaucho

Part II Writing the Orient to Write the Self

4. Euro-Argentine Orientalisms, before and after the Watershed of Immigration

5. Arab Argentine Re-Presentations of the Orient: On the Border between History and Fiction

Coda: The Arab/Argentine Knot, into the 1990s with Morandini's Take on Menem

Part III Performing Mother Tongues: Language, Morals, and National Affiliation in the Formation of Arab Argentine Identities

6. Discursive Copies, Discursive Differences: The Disruption of the Performance of Argentine National Language and Identity

7. Another Dissonant Performance of Argentineness: Provincial Argentine Polyphony in the 1960s

8. Performing an Other Tongue: Language-Based Arab Identity and the Displacement of Pure Arabic

IN CLOSING The Immigrant and the Orient in Literary and Cultural Studies


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