Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 6 June 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



  • We seek your support to meet the expenses relating to the formatting of articles and books, maintaining and running the journal through hosting, correrspondences, etc.Please write to the Editor in his e-mail address to find out how you can support this journal.
  • Also please use the AMAZON link to buy your books. Even the smallest contribution will go a long way in supporting this journal. Thank you. Thirumalai, Editor.

In Association with




  • E-mail your articles and book-length reports in Microsoft Word to
  • Contributors from South Asia may send their articles to
    B. Mallikarjun,
    Central Institute of Indian Languages,
    Mysore 570006, India
    or e-mail to
  • Your articles and booklength reports should be written following the APA, MLA, LSA, or IJDL Stylesheet.
  • The Editorial Board has the right to accept, reject, or suggest modifications to the articles submitted for publication, and to make suitable stylistic adjustments. High quality, academic integrity, ethics and morals are expected from the authors and discussants.

Copyright © 2009
M. S. Thirumalai


Negotiating Boundaries -
Arab-American Poetry and the Dilemmas of Dual Identity

Abraham Panavelil Abraham, Ph.D.


Like postcolonial literature, Arab-American literature also has its origin in the credibility and acceptance of the principles of change: social, psychological and linguistic changes. To absorb these changes involves an immense effort on the part of these people to break with the old in search of the new, to break with establishment and the tradition. They struggle to establish an alternating identity; feeling the conflict between the old and the new.

This article will focus on some of the contemporary Arab-American poets like Sam Hamod, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mohja Kahf and Nathalie Handal who address these issues in a direct, even confrontational manner to delineate their concerns.

Caught between two worlds, the characters negotiate a new social space, caught between two cultures and often languages, the writer negotiates a new literary space. "Doubtlessness" is the essence of their writings. What unites this body of Arab-American writings into one literary system are partially the recurring themes, often in binary oppositions, which permeate it: acculturation, duality, discrimination, alienation between parents and children, memories of wars, poverty and prosperity.

In the final analysis, these writers indirectly remind us that stereotypes and prejudices, war and genocide are overcome only by bridges of dialogues and not by walls of separation.

Who is Arab-American?

Many travelers find themselves saying of an experience in a new country, that it wasn't what they expected, meaning that it isn't what a book said it would be"- Edward Said in Orientalism.

Coming to America, I have felt on my own heart what W.E.B Dubois invoked: two souls, two thoughts in one dark body.' But now at the tail end of the century, perhaps there are many souls, many voices in one dark body- Meena Alexander in The Shock of Arrival

Who is an Arab-American? In simple terms the name Arab-American is part of the group of immigrants living in America, people of diverse background with stories of war, exile, lost language, cherished tradition and the need for reinventing home and self. An Arab- American is an immigrant or American born, a Muslim, Christian or Jew.

Nowadays, an Arab-American is sometimes a person faced with negative stereotypes especially after the 9/11 and the Iraq war, a turning point for Americans and those people of Middle Eastern origins.

Many Arabs and Muslims experienced increased hostility and suspicion after the September 11th. Many a time they are targeted on the basis of skin color, dress, name, accent and other characteristics. This has become institutionalized in the pervasive racial profiling in places like the US Airports and border crossings.

But these along with the other political events that culminated with the 9/11 and beyond forced Arab-Americans to grapple with their identity. They realized that they had to "write or be written". You have to "define yourself or others will define you". The result is that Arab-American writers are now carving out a new role in America just like African Americans or Asian Americans. Now these writers are coming to the foreground, creating new spaces for their voices and new urgencies of expression.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Patterns of Indian Multilingualism | The Use of Catchy Words: A Case Study from Pakistan | Conquering Psychological Alienation - How Amy Tan Looks at It | I`gbo` Verbs of Communication | Honorifics and Speech Levels in Meiteiron | Social Functions of Metaphor - A Case Study Applying Tamil and Telugu Examples | Pragmatic Approaches and Models of Linguistic Politeness | Emerging Paradigms in Language Communication in India and Their Impact on the Corporate Competencies | Role of Encoding Temporal Fine Structure Cues in Time Compressed Word Recognition | Negotiating Boundaries: Arab-American Poetry and the Dilemmas of Dual Identity | The Role of Self-Directed Learning Strategy in Higher Education | Attitudes toward Women Expressed in the Speech of Male College Students | Teachers' Professional Development in ELT at Tertiary Level: ELTR Project of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan - A Case Study | The Changing Image of Women in Indian Writing in English - A Study of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things | The Administration of the East India Company: A History of Indian Progress: Native Education | Teaching English Language and Literature in Non-Native Context | Improving Chemmozhi Learning and Teaching - Descriptive Studies in Classical-Modern Tamil Grammar | Global Perspective of Teaching English Literature in Higher Education in Pakistan | Two Trends That Would Deface Classical-Modern Tamil - How to Reverse These Trends? | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF JUNE 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of June 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Abraham Panavelil Abraham, Ph.D.
Department of English/Foreign Languages
University of Nizwa
P.O.Box 33
P.C 616
Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman

  • Send your articles
    as an attachment
    to your e-mail to
  • Please ensure that your name, academic degrees, institutional affiliation and institutional address, and your e-mail address are all given in the first page of your article. Also include a declaration that your article or work submitted for publication in LANGUAGE IN INDIA is an original work by you and that you have duly acknolwedged the work or works of others you either cited or used in writing your articles, etc. Remember that by maintaining academic integrity we not only do the right thing but also help the growth, development and recognition of Indian scholarship.