Unsettled Belonging tells the stories of young Palestinian Americans as they navigate and construct lives as American citizens. Following these youth throughout their school days, Thea Abu El-Haj examines citizenship as lived experience, dependent on various social, cultural, and political memberships. For them, she shows, life is characterized by a fundamental schism between their sense of transnational belonging and the exclusionary politics of routine American nationalism that ultimately cast them as impossible subjects. Abu El-Haj explores the school as the primary site where young people from immigrant communities encounter the central discourses about what it means to be American. She illustrates the complex ways social identities are bound up with questions of belonging and citizenship, and she details the processes through which immigrant youth are racialized via everyday nationalistic practices. Finally, she raises a series of crucial questions about how we educate for active citizenship in contemporary times, when more and more people's lives are shaped within transnational contexts.
A compelling account of post-9/11 immigrant life, Unsettled Belonging is a steadfast look at the disjunctures of modern citizenship.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 262
Weight: 476 g
Dimensions: 231 x 160 x 20 mm
This is a highly original, extremely important, and compelling account of transnational citizenship. With her focus on Palestinian American youth and by fleshing out the concept of transnational citizenship, Abu El-Haj offers a unique book that will significantly push the anthropology of education forward and will take its place as one of the great educational ethnographies of our time. --Andrea Dyrness, author of Mothers United: An Immigrant Struggle for Socially Just Education"
Revealing the work of nationalism in the racialization of Palestinian American youth, "Unsettled Belonging" is an important read for scholars interested in immigration/migration and citizenship in the twenty-first century. --Stacey J. Lee, author of Unraveling the Model Minority Stereotype: Listening to Asian American Youth"
Abu El-Haj has spent years working closely with Palestinian American high school students to better understand how they understand themselves. Educators across the nation should pay attention to what she has uncovered. By investigating how schools reproduce a reflexive everyday nationalism through their curricula and instruction, Abu El-Haj shows us how Palestinian American students are routinely misunderstood, maligned, and marginalized by faculty, administrators, and other students alike. But she also offers paths to progress in this valuable study. She proposes solutions where education and citizenship work together to alleviate injustice and inequality, both at home and abroad. --Moustafa Bayoumi, author of This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror"