Hadha Baladuna: Arab American Narratives of Boundary and Belonging (Made in Michigan Writers)
Named a Michigan Notable Book for 2023 by the Library of Michigan A vibrant collection of essays and poems exploring the diverse range of the Arab American experience, as writers explore the notions of home, belonging, and social mobility.
Named a Michigan Notable Book for 2023, and a Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Hadha Baladuna ("this is our country") is the first work of creative nonfiction in the field of Arab American literature that focuses entirely on the Arab diaspora in Metro Detroit, an area with the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the US. Narratives move from a young Lebanese man in the early 1920s peddling his wares along country roads to an aspiring Iraqi-Lebanese poet who turns to the music of Tupac Shakur for inspiration. The anthology then pivots to experiences growing up Arab American in Detroit and Dearborn, capturing the cultural vibrancy of urban neighborhoods and dramatizing the complexity of what it means to be Arab, particularly from the vantage point of biracial writers. Included in these works is a fearless account of domestic and sexual abuse and a story of a woman who comes to terms with her queer identity in a community that is not entirely accepting. The anthology concludes with explorations of political activism dating back to the 1960s and Dearborn's shifting demographic landscape.
Hadha Baladuna: Arab American Narratives of Boundary and Belonging contains stories of immigration and exile by following newcomers' attempts to assimilate into American society. Editors Ghassan Zeineddine, Nabeel Abraham, and Sally Howell have assembled a cast of emerging and established writers from a wide array of communities, including cultural heritages originating from Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and Yemen. The strong pattern in Arab Detroit today is to oppose marginalization through avid participation in almost every form of American identity-making. This engaged stance is not a byproduct of culture, but a new way of thinking about the US in relation to one's homeland.