Counter Fictions and Imaginary Topographies: Auto/Biographical Methodologies and the Construction of Group Knowledge in Evelyn Shakir’s Bint Arab: Arab and Arab American Women in the United States

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  • 1 University of Michigan

In this contribution, I identify two of Evelyn Shakir’s methodological contributions in Bint Arab: Arab and Arab American Women in the United States: counter fictions and imaginary topographies. First, I demonstrate how Shakir’s counter fictions complicate Nancy Hartsock’s () argument that group knowledge is locatable in time, space and particular cultures. Second, I explore how Shakir’s imaginary topographies which are depicted through an autobiographical narrative voice—an intergenerational interlocutor—document movements between multiple voices and various actual and imagined locations. Shakir’s methodologies make important contributions to our understanding of Arab women’s diasporic experiences, feminist standpoint theory and women of color feminisms. Moreover, Shakir’s multivocal interdisciplinary narratives establish methodological parameters for the emerging field of Arab American Women’s Studies.

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  • 1

    Here I use Sandra Harding’s (1994) distinction between methodology, “a theory and analysis of how research does or should proceed” and method, a technique for gathering evidence.

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