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The Power of Recipes: Culinary Practice as a Strategy to Deconstruct Arab-American Identity in Diana Abu-Jaber’s Crescent

Authors
  • Berrebbah, Ishak
Type
Published Article
Journal
Prague Journal of English Studies
Publisher
Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2020
Volume
9
Issue
1
Pages
115–132
Identifiers
DOI: 10.2478/pjes-2020-0006
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Crescent (2003) is an example of the kind of Arab-American literature that has emerged noticeably in the early years of the 21st century. It signifies a hypothesis that culinary practice is an essential cultural component for diasporic figures to define their identities, especially in a multi-cultural society. These figures embrace such component to strategically define themselves and assert their belonging and affiliation to their original homelands. This paper, as such, examines the extent to which Arab-American characters in the novel, namely Sirine and Han, consider culinary practice as a key tool to understanding their identity, locate themselves in a multi-cultural society, and re-discover their true belonging. The study of this novel shows that culinary practices, as indicated in the narratives, deconstruct Arab-American identity through various dimensions, including memory, nostalgia, hybridity, and essentialism. In addition to employing critical and analytical approaches to the novel, this paper relies on a socio-cultural conceptual framework based on perspectives of prominent critics and theorists such as Homi Bhabha, Brinda Mehta, Dallen Timothy, and Stuart Hall, to name a few.

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