The CLCS Global Arab and Arab American forum is interested in works of the Arab diaspora, including the cultural production of Arab American and global Arab writers. The category “Global Arab” allows for a broad conceptualization of diasporic and multilingual work situated within the various national, ethnic, religious, and cultural contexts of the Arab world and the Middle East. The designation “Arab American” is linked to the category “Global Arab” yet deserves special attention as a distinct subfield within American literature that engages with the discourses of race and ethnicity in the United States as well as with the history of Arab and Middle Eastern migrations to the Americas.

Executive Committee Vision Statement

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    Keith Feldman

    As someone who began working in Arab American Studies in 2001, and has continued to be an active contributor to the field’s research and teaching, it is a real honor to be considered for a position on the executive board of the CLCS Global Arab and Arab American Forum. The scope, importance, and impact of Arab American Studies has grown remarkably over the last fifteen years, with no abatement in sight, even as institutional resources to sustain its growth have been sparse and unpredictable.

    Arab American Studies continues to thicken its longstanding interest in localized questions of immigration and labor, language and religion, gender and citizenship, popular culture and historical memory. At the same time, the field continues to solidify its linkages to institutionally-adjacent interdisciplinary domains—Black Studies, Asian American Studies, Jewish Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, Indigenous Studies among them—while linking the local to the regional and the transnational. These are not (or need not be) contrary developments, but are mutually beneficial ones, producing incisive new questions about the work we do: about law, sovereignty, and the state; about patterns and innovations in gendered racialization, embodiment, and affect; about the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, trans-Mediterranean, and Hemispheric American contexts of Arab cultures, histories, and communities, etc. Our knowledge is all the more necessary for a moment wrought by regional wars and the world-historical forms of displacement that accompany them, raising pressing issues about the histories and futures of a diaspora whose conditions have come to define the early 21st century.

    The organizational importance of this Forum is undeniable, especially in a scholarly environment that, with very rare exception, disperses research and teaching in these areas across departments and units. The Forum is well-positioned to deepen its work as a hub to provide institutional support, networks of colleagues, partners, and resources, and opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, and publication. As someone with experience within the ASA and the MLA, I look forward to the opportunity to work towards growing the Forum’s organizational capacity in ways that best meet the needs of its members and the fields within which we work.

    Brief Bio 

    Keith P. Feldman is currently Assistant Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. He is the author of A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America (Minnesota 2015), as well as numerous articles on Arab American literature and culture in comparative and transnational frames. He is the editor of a forum on “Blackness and Relationality” for Comparative Literature (June 2016), and a special issue of race, religion, and war, for Social Text (December 2016). A university educator with over 15 years’ experience, Feldman combines a broad research program with a passion for teaching and service. Feldman received his BA from Brown University, his MA from the George Washington University, and his PhD from the University of Washington.

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