‘Praise to the Emptiness’ Locating Home in the Arab Diaspora

Sandhya Rao Mehta


This paper explores the continuing negotiations which occur among the diasporic communities to arrive at definitions of home within the new geographical spaces occupied by them. Using the liminal and hybrid theories of Avtar Brah, Stuart Hall and their literary manifestations in Salman Rushdie and Meena Alexander, it explores the notion of home among the Arab diaspora in The United States, particularly as expressed by women writers. Using the specific example of Mohja Kahf’s the girl in the tangerine scarf, this study examines the way in which Muslim women in the diaspora struggle to find multiple possibilities of ‘home’. It presents the possibility that the inability to establish a final home could be a literary tool for the creative artist to examine multiple identities and inhabit marginal spaces in ways which are imaginative and hopeful rather than being zones of loss and longing.



The girl in the tangerine scarf, Mohja Kahf, home, diaspora, Arab women writers, literature

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.3n.1p.124


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