MELANCHOLIC CITIZENSHIP : PRACTICES OF COMMUNAL GRIEVING IN A TIME OF TERROR By DHANASHREE THORAT A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2017
2017 Dhanashree Thorat
3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I am grateful to the members of my supervisory committee for nurturing this research project. I am indebted to Dr. Malini Schu eller, my dissertation chair, for mentoring my research endeavors since I arrived at the University of Florida in 2011. Her intellectual guidan ce has enabled me to embark upon and complete my Masters and Doctoral research projects I owe much of my gro wth as a scholar and writer to the rigorous standards of critical scholarship to which she holds her students. I would also like to thank my family, especially my parents, for their patience and encouragement while I completed this project. We live on differen t continents, separated by vast gulfs of water and time zones, but I know that your support is unstinting and unconditional. In seeing this dissertation through, I hope to convey my respect and appreciation for both of you, as educators in your own right a nd my first teachers. I owe much to Nicholas, my partner, for believing in me during the lows of dissertation writing, and for the liberal quantities of encouragement, love, and food with which he forti fied my spirit. I am grateful that I have you with me at this high (and end) point of my dissertation, and as I move on to new projects and journeys.
4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 3 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 6 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 9 2 SECRETS SHARED OVER TEA: INTERGENERATIONAL SOLIDARITIES AMONG RECOVERING MODEL MINORITIES ................................ ............................... 39 The Good Muslim ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 39 The Melancholic Wake ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 44 Overcoming Anger and Shame ................................ ................................ ............................... 59 Spilt Tea and Spilt Secrets ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 74 3 THE AFTERLIVES OF MELANCHOLIA: COLLECTIVE MEMORY AND JAPANESE AMERICAN ACTIVISM ON BEHALF OF MUSL IMS ................................ 84 Bare Life and Melancholic Incorporation ................................ ................................ ............... 84 A Collective Memory of the Wounds of Racism ................................ ................................ ... 89 Melancholic Testimony and Political Action ................................ ................................ ....... 114 4 NATIONALIST HISTORIOGRAPHY AND LIMITS OF MELANCHOLIC TESTIMONY ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 132 Historiography and Digital Archives ................................ ................................ .................... 132 The Citizen Hero as Trauma Narrative ................................ ................................ ................. 137 The Testimony of the Margi nalized Citizen ................................ ................................ ......... 154 5 THE TRANSNATIONAL VISIONS OF MELANCHOLIC PROPHECY ......................... 183 Madness and Prophecy ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 183 The Intimate Lives of Melancholic Subjects ................................ ................................ ........ 188 Melancholic Ends ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 206 6 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 227 A P P E N D I X INT ERFACE OF THE SEPTEMBER 1 1 DIGITAL ARCHIVE .................... 232 WORKS CITED ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 237
5 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 248
6 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page A 1 Front page of the September 11 Digital Archive in 2002. ................................ ............... 232 A 2 Sp ecial collections page in 2002. ................................ ................................ ..................... 233 A 3 Collection le vel in 2014. ................................ ................................ ................................ 234 A 4 Rubble with first responders. ................................ ................................ .......................... 235 A 5 First responder s at Ground Zero site. ................................ ................................ ............... 235 A 6 Fir st responders at work. ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 236 A 7 Cleaning up the Ground Zero site. ................................ ................................ ................... 236
7 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the R equirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy MELANCHOLIC CITIZENSHIP : PRACTICES OF COMMUNAL GRIEVING IN A TIME OF TERROR By Dhanashree Thorat August 2017 Chair: Malini Schueller Major: English In the post 9/11 moment, sedimented national ideologi es about Muslims have been reactivated in racial formations of terror. Using its juridico political institutions, th e nation state has deployed legal policies racial profiling projects, and the rhetoric of the War on Terror to produce Muslims not only as a suspect population but also as potential terrorists. Inscribed in the restrictive subject positions of assimilated immigrant or violent terrorist and alienated from mainstream cultural and political imaginaries, Muslims once more confront the te nuousness of their belonging to the nation state. The resurgence of racial violence after 9/11 raises troubling questions about how Muslims can resist their interpellation as terrorists by dominant national ideologies, and challenge the racial projects of the state mobilized by that interpellation. In this project, I define practices of a melancholic citizenship, a psycho social mode of political participation by which Muslims confront their post 9/11 alienation and the longer history of their vulnerable belonging i n the nation state. This form of citizenship allows Muslims to mourn racial wounds that stem from historical encounters with systemic oppression. Drawing on scholarship on racial formation, psychoanalysis, and trauma, my project traces the possibilities of melancholic citizenship for alliance building in post 9/11 ethnic literature, and in digital spaces such as the September 11 Digital Archive. Specifically, I argue that racial
8 melancholia, which manifests in racialized immigrant groups as a result of raci al violence, can become the basis for inter ethnic and transnational alliances. My overarching goal in this project is to outline a model of melancholic citizenship that is rooted in shared histories of racial trauma and encourages counterhegemonic activis ms.
9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, news media sources immediately raised the specter of Islamist terrorism by suggesting that the bombing suspects were of Middle Eastern descent. One editorial article expla floating fear and a 1 Although investigators had not verified Middle Eastern involvement in the bombing, and Timothy McVeigh, a white nationalist, would eventually be identified as the perpetrator, the Orientalist angle of the news stories points to the linkage in the national imaginary between Islam, the Middl e East, and terrorism The evoca tion of a civilizational war 2 between Islam and America after the Oklahoma City bombing would resonate after the 9/11 attacks too, when President Bush framed the attacks as an attempt to disrupt American democracy and freedoms (Bush Address to Congress). As I show later, after 9/11, state and media discourse again produced Muslims as potential terrorists with anti American sensibilities. Although I situate this project in the socio political conditions of the post 9/11 moment, I begin with an earlier his torical reference to show that the racial production of Muslims as terrorists is not a recent development. Evelyn Alsultany locates the Iran hostage crisis as a specific flashpoint in the development of this construction, while Mahmood Mamdani argues that the larger context of the Cold War was critical in producing Islam as antithetical to 1 FAIR (Fairness and Accura cy in Reporting) documents other instances where prominent news organizations channeled Islamophobic responses to the bombing (The Oklahoma City Bombing 2 Samuel Huntington has been one of the scholars to forecast and naturalize a civilizational war between an irrational Islam and a democratic West. In the polarizing worldview offered by Huntington, the cultural and ideological differences between these factions cannot be resolved, as the West represents the modernity, democratic v alues, and free
10 American democratic values (Alsultany 9, Mamdani 15). While 9/11 marks a moment when sedimented national ideologies about Muslims have been reactivated, it is not an exce ptional moment in that regard. The post 9/11 backlash and racial st ate projects against Muslims also define a moment of intensified and renewed racial violence rather than an atypical or new form of oppression. Commenting on the tenuous belonging of Muslim s and Arabs to the nation state, Lisa Suhair Majaj notes that Muslims are readily evicted from the protective ambit of the nation anxieties about Muslims are raised to public attention again (Majaj 321). The resurgence of racial violence after 9/11 raises troubling questions about how Muslims can resist their interpellation as terrorists by dominant racial ideologies, and challenge the racial projects of the state m obilized by that interpellation. If the legal rights granted by citizenship, and cultural belonging to the nation can both be revoked during moments of national crisis, Muslims face the possibili ty of remaining devalued subjects incapable of exercising the ir full citizenship rights. In this project, I outline the practices of melancholic citizenship a mode of national inhabitance by which Muslims confront not only their post 9/11 alienation but also the longer history of their tenuous belonging in the nati on state. As I discuss later in this chapter, melancholic citizenship offers Muslims a means of mourning racial wounds that stem from historical encounters with systemic oppression and challenging those entrenched national ideologies that treat their cultu ral and racial difference as a threat to America. The entrenched nature of dominant national ideologies about Muslims, particularly their ascription as terrorists, is already suggested by the cyclical and persistent revival of these ideologies in moments o f crisis. The larger issue of the desirability of Muslims as immigrants has never been a settled matter in the national imaginary, and the debate about the position that
11 Muslims hold in the racial hierarchy of the United States can be traced to the early p eriod of Muslim immigration history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This period of immigration history also indicates the complexities of the geopolitical, religious, and cultural n the late nineteenth century, small groups of Muslims from South A sian countries first emigrated in substantial numbers t o America to perform low wage or unskilled labor. One group comprising of Muslims from Bengal arrived as peddlers and initially settle d in the American South, 3 while another group of Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs from Punjab moved to the West Coast to work on farms and railway construction. 4 As low wage workers of Asian origin, these immigrants experienced the same kind of anti Asian xenoph obia that was prevalent in that time period. In one notable incident of racial violence, hundreds of Punjabi immigrants who worked in timber mills were forcibly evicted by a violent mob from Bellingham, Washington due to fears that the men were taking jobs from white American workers (Gallagher). The racial animus directed at these South Asian Muslim immigrants had more to do with their country of origin and socioeconomic status than with their religious identity. Muslim immigration from South Asian countri es would be halted, however, by the anti Asian immigration acts until the latter half of the twentieth century. The larger number of Muslim immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century came from the Middle East. In this period, racial clas sification was used as a means of bringing Arabs and Middle Easterners within the scope of restrictive immigration and citizenship 3 Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America traces the experience of the South Asian Muslims who travelled to America as peddler transnational and interracial networks that these peddlers formed by integrating with black communities or marrying black and Latino women. 4 Karen Leonard discusses the Punjabi American community at length in her work. While she focuses on California, her ethnographic study offers a glimpse at the living and working conditions of the Punjabi immigrants and their attempts to shape an ethnic community while under attack by racialized immigration laws and private racism.
12 policies. Arab immigrants went through a number of shifting legal classifications: first categorized as Turkish, then Syrian, and later Syrians would be defined as Asians. 5 In three separate historical moments (in 1909, 1914, and 1923), Arab immigrants were legally classified as non white before community protests and appeals led to their re classification as white. 6 The debate over the legal classification of Arab immigrants was largely linked to whether they could pursue a path towards American citizenship. If Arabs were categorized as Asian, and hence, non white, they would be barred from emigrating to the United States under the restrictive Immigration Act of 1917, and the Immigration Act of 1924 (also called the Johnson Reed Act). For Arab Americans, legal classification as white was important because it allowed them to seek immigration and citizenship, privileges that favo red white immigrants. Yet, this classification did not guarantee cultural inclusion to the nation. Beydou n observes that Arab Americans discursive recognition as non ed In 695). On a similar note, Majaj comments that American Ethnicity become increasingly c onflated when the Middle East was associated as a breeding ground of Islamic terrorism. The differential treatment of Arab Americans despite their racial classification 5 For a more thorough overview of Arab and Muslim racial classification for immigration purposes, see Helen Hatab Arabs in America edited collection. 6 In the post the 1980s, state interest in this category after 9/11 has been particularly marked. Beydoun is skeptical of this recent compile more specific and comprehensive information ab out a community dispartely linked with national security
13 as white can be traced to the interlinking of Arab and Muslim identity, particularly during the Cold War. Evelyn Alsultany notes that even in the early twentieth century, the Middle East was presented to American audiences (especially in the entertainment media) in Orientalist tropes as ferent from the Occident in its cultural and ideological milieu (Alsultany 7). After 1945, however, these depictions of the Middle East Iran hostage crisis of 19 79 as a critical moment in which Arab, Muslim, and Middle Eastern identities were conflated, used interchangeably, and linked with terrorism (9). The reductively opposed to American values of democracy and capitalism. 7 This interlinking of geopolitical, ethnic, cultural, religious identities under the figure of the Muslim retained a powerful hold on the national imagination. Images of Arab or Muslim terror occupie d American news and entertainment media after creation of the state of Israel and its hostilities with Palestine, and at other moments of international crisis such as the Arab Israeli wars (in 1948, 1967, and 1973 ), the Arab oil embargo in 1973, and the Ir an hostage crisis in 1979 (Shaheen 188). 8 In the post 9/11 moment, South Asian Americans would also be drawn into this construction of Muslims as terrorists because of their origin from countries with substantial Muslim populations and the phenotypical li nking of Muslims with brownness. States like Pakistan and Afghanistan, in particular, would join the Middle East as regions that produce 7 United States is thus a land of equality and democracy, culturally diverse and civilized, a 8 Jack Shaheen undertakes an exhaustive review of the representation of Arabs and Muslims in U.S. films in Reel Bad Arabs and his work is particularly helpful in tracing the shifting images of the Middle East from an exotic place to a dangerous place from which Islamic terrorists threaten the security of the American nation state.
14 Islamic terrorists. Because of the restrictive ways in which Muslims have been understood in the national imagination, brown subjects like Sikhs would also be misrecognized as Muslims and suffer adversely from racial violence as a result. Given these complexities, I use the term of Arab, South Asian, and Muslim subjectivities, made before, but especially after 9/11. I do not Muslims have been racialized in America after 9/11. As I outline la ter in this Introduction, several scholars in Asian American Studies as well as Arab American Studies have cautioned against an overreliance on religious identification as a means of understanding the Muslim experience after 9/11. While scholars like Mamda ni have framed Islam as a political identity, 9 recent scholarship in race theory, (Mamdani 15). The historical incorporation of Muslim immigrants (from South Asia and the Middle East) within the nat ion state relied on an ambivalent condition of inclusive exclusion that sets the stage for the racial construction of Muslims in restrictive terms. Inclusive exclusion, a phrase used by Georgio Agamben, highlights the condition upon which the sovereign sta te produces subordinated subjects who are brought under the biopolitical control of juridico political institutions but denied the possibility of sovereignty or its full protections (Homo Sacer 16). 10 9 Mamdani posits that Muslim ident ity has been politicized since the colonial encounter, and it cannot be interpreted solely in the register of culture, religion, or ethnicity (Mamdani 15). He also argues that the kind of terrorism used direct roots lie in the late period of the Cold War (62). 10 Homo Sacer in more detail in Chapter 3 on the legal and social alienation of Japanese American immigrants and M te violence (Ziarek 89). Yet, as I show, Japanese Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and Muslims after 9/11.
15 For Muslim immigrants this means that legal citizenship and national belonging is preconditioned on their subordination to dominant racial logics. If the racial, cultural, and religious difference of Muslims threatens to unsettle the existing racial hierarchy, the condition of inclusive exclusion ensures that t his difference is devalued and denied the legitimacy and shi fting legal classifications of Muslims, the restrictive immigration laws, and acts of private racism against Muslim immigrants suggest the emergence of a racial formation of terror concerned with the regulation and control of Muslims in the United States. Michael Omi and Howard Winant define racial formation as a process through which determine the content and importance of racial categories, and by which they are in turn shaped Arab American Studies scholars hav e consistently evoked racial formation theory to situate the experience of Arabs and Muslims after 9/11. Writing about the racial liminality of Arabs, Louise Cainkar wr exclusion of Arabs in the United States has been a racial formation process because Arab inferiority has been constructed and sold to the American public using essentialist constructions ). She further writes that the diverse ethnic and cultural group assertion of innate characteristics held by all members of a group and the use of power to reward, include a predisposition to terrorism, a generalized anger and opposition to American democratic ideals, and a proclivity for anti modern ideals such as oppre ssive gender hierarchies.
16 In the post 9/11 moment, these innate characteristics defining racialization have been broadly applied, not just to Arabs but to Muslims Neil Gotanda observes that This transformation of Muslimness as a religious, cultural, and ethnic identity conf lated into a racial one is especially apparent in the American political and legal realm after 9/11 Immediately after 9/11, the FBI detained more than 1200 suspects within the territorial United States (the FBI stopped reporting numbers beyond this count) many of residence. While the categories of suspicious behavior were not made apparent, the fact that the suspects were overwhelmingly Muslims or immigrants from Muslim countries suggests that to be a Muslim, claim geopolitical roots to a country with a Muslim population, or to be identified (and even misidentified) as one itself constituted being suspicious. Attending mosque services, wearing a hijab, bearing a M uslim name, having a long beard, and being brown were some visible cultural and religious markers of Otherness and the suspect population. The racial profiling that the special detentions introduced would soon be enshrined more formally in policies like t he PATRIOT Act and NSEERS, which defined legally permissible racial profiling under the so called exceptional circumstances of the War on Terror. NSEERS, for instance, was implemented in 2002 and mandated that male immigrants from 25 countries, most of whi ch had major ity Muslim populations, had to be registered, fingerprinted, and t was assumed that the immigrant was also Muslim. This policy rendered the immigrant, whether of
17 the first, second, or third generation, as a perpetual foreigner with potentially anti American sentiments and the refore the target of government surveillance. NSEERS was only formally dismantled in 2016, while the PATRIOT Act, which legalized detentions, remains active 16 years after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Moustafa Bayoumi argues that legal projects like NSEERS have played a critical role in pro ducing Muslims as a racial formation. He writes nature of such leg al projects enabling racial profiling raises troubling questions about the lack of state interest in protecting Muslims, and about how Muslims negotiate their daily lives amidst legal and social alienation after 9/11. The state policies I mentioned above are instructive of the broader pattern in which the nation state has ascribed racial meanings to Muslim bodies to construct them as subjects of suspicion and surveillance. Go subordination on tural symbols Socio political technologies of racial profiling rely on linkages between brown bodies, terrorists, and Muslim s rely on broad generalizations 11 The 11 This linkag e omits, for instance, acknowledgement that dominant racial ideologies also frame Latinx subjects as brown bodies but not as terrorists. This linkage is also problematized by black Muslims, who might not be perceived as brown but are brought under the scop e of state surveillance for being black and expressing signs of their Muslimness. Racial profiling as a surveillance tool is generally unable to account for the nuances and complexities of racial categories. Despite these issues, Muslims have been phenotyp ically understood as brown in America. One clear example is presented by the news commentary on the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. The Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the attacks were Muslims of Chechen descent. Although they were legally classified as white (as Russian Americans), and both pass as white (in terms of phenotype), many news writers insisted that the terrorists could not be labelled as white Americans (Walsh). This insistence reflects popular opinion that Muslims,
18 racialization of Muslims as potential terrorists draws on several facets, among others, imbuing religious signifiers with racial meaning, essentializing cultural markers (clothing, language, and so on) to construct the individuals (Silod and Embrick 649 651). Silod and Embrick indicate that the state has transformed markers as disparate as language (Urdu, Arabic), clothing (especially the hijab), a nd cuisines and places of worship into racialized symbols that spotlight Muslims. The term identity. Officially, government authorities sought religious extre mists, but in practice, their efforts targeted a broader swath of people when geopolitical identities (such as Arab or South Asian) were collapsed into each other, and cultural markers (such as language, dress and cuisine) became labelled as Muslim. The g eopolitical country of origin of Muslim immigrants plays an important role in how the state perceives them as racial subjects. Yen Le Espiritu writes that racial formations are but also by the Junaid Rana writes tly with the U.S. War on Terror (Rana 159). As Muslim Americans are perceived to have strong cultural ties to the nations from which they or their parents immigrated, their racial standing in the United States is affected by international geopolitical tens ions. W riting about the parallel experience of Asian Americans Lisa Lowe notes especially Islamic terror ists, could not possibly be white. That Islamic terrorists are associated with brownness is highlighted by the fact that a number of brown suspects were misidentified by law enforcement and media reports after the bombing. In one case, police exhaustively searched the apartment of a Saudi Arabian student while he was recuperating in a hospital from wounds suffered during the bombing (Terkel).
19 6). M uslims, like Asian immigrants, have become configured as symbolic subjects of racial and cultural difference, the metonym for external cultures and nations that are rendered inherentl y antithetical to Americanness. 12 This racial formation of Muslims as terr orists is produced and contested at the definition. It is essential, before I move forward, to reiterate that the racial formation reductively collapses the geopolitical, cultural, and ethnic differences of those groups who are drawn into the project, and the broad categorization within which I frame the divers e identifications that are evoked by the texts I study. Race has been a critical tool that has shaped the post 9/11 experience of Muslims, and it has been the experiential register against which Muslims understand their lived realities. Scholars like Junai religion in the form of Islamophobia can only strengthen our analysis and complicate struggles situating the 12 As my reference to Lisa Lowe might indicate, this project draws on Asian American Studies scholarship on racial fo rmation to situate the treatment of Muslims after 9/11. The scholarly agenda of Asian American Studies is not restricted to the ethnicities generally considered as Asian American, and the reductive ways in which the nation state has crafted Muslims has ent angled those subjects (such as South Asian Americans) who have historically fallen under the scope of the field. Racial oppression in its systemic and entrenched form is necessarily intersectional, and Muslim, Arab, and Asian immigrants share mutual and ov erlapping histories of legal and social exclusion. The restrictive immigration laws in the early twentieth century are but one example of racial state projects that sought to define all three racial groups as undesirable immigrants at one moment or another In the post 9/11 moment, the dragnet cast by NSEERS, the PATRIOT Act, and other policies. Moreover, Asian American Studies has maintained a n interest in studying the operations of the U.S. empire, and as such, the field has cultivated an active interest in transnational and interethnic identity formations. As I show later, a number of Asian American Studies scholars have already been invested in studying the post 9/11 experience of Muslims as subjects of the American empire, and my project connects that scholarship to the work done by scholars like Evelyn Alsultany in Arab American Studies.
20 Muslim experience in the terms of race allows me to interpret the structural and systemic conditions which Muslims navigate and w ithin which they make sense of their lives Although this racial formation incorporates problematic generalizations, it continues to be an actively deployed categorization in state and media logics. As such, the critical language of racial formation is useful in studying how the construction of Muslims as terrorists might be challenged in the hegemonic systems in which it is entrenched and produced. Finally, the collapsing of cultural and ethnic groups under this racial formation, though simplistic and reductive, can be turned towards progressive alliance building among the affected groups. My examples thus far center the nation state a s an agent invested in racial formation because in as much as the nation state is a product of modernity, it is entrenched in the racial ideologies that structure modernity and it reproduces them in the cultural, political, and historiographic aspects of t of defining and managing racial order (Goldberg 233). The modern biopolitical state has a far effecting racially shaped spaces and places, groups and events, life worlds and possibilities, accesses and restriction, inclusions and exclusion, concepti possibilities suggesting that the state seeks to regulate imagination, opportunities, and futures by its racial ideologi es. This control is not absolute, but it is deep and expansive. Despite the emergence of post national organizations, the nation state continues to play an important role in shaping the lives of Muslims. The texts I focus on in this project are invested in biopolitical life
21 within the nation state, with Muslim subjects responding to and challenging racial ideologies that construct them as terrorists. The result of this reductive construction of Muslims as a suspect population was very damaging for Muslims and those misrecognized as Muslims. There was a dramatic spike, of almost 1600%, in anti Muslim hate crime after 9/11 in the three weeks after the attacks. The attackers followed similar patterns adopted by the nation state and additionally relied on visua l cues that seemed to define Muslims. Anger about the terrorist attacks became displaced to these racialized bodies, and the acting out was construed as a patriotic action. The wide ranging consequences of this racial formation of terror on marginalized Mu slims can be attributed to the existence of a racial order that permeates and structures every aspect of social relations in the nation state. Since Muslims had been defined as Others, and placed outside the realm of civil and human rights by the state, vi olence against their bodies was implicitly sanctioned. Drawing a production of racialized subjects had a direct impact on private violence against Muslims (Volpp 158 2). The state had racialized the construction of the terrorist figure, and American public was ambit of citizenship and identit Muslims as terrorists frames Muslims as inherently un American, and thus hinders them from exercising their citizenship rights.
22 The construction of this racial formation of terror also engende rs, however, an opposite personality: the model Muslim who is allowed access to the discursive and legal bounds of the nation state contingent on demonstrations of loyalty and ostensibly normative American values. Mamdani calls this the dyad of the good an d bad Muslim, and notes that the distinction between themselves from bad Muslims (Mamdani 15). Western modernity stands in for a variety of norms, ranging from ac ceptance of democratic ideals to the repression of religious and cultural symbols (like the hijab) which have been construed as antiquated icons of religiosity. When values of Western modernity collide with the religious beliefs of Muslims, they are expect ed to follow the tenets of the former. This is apparent, for instance, in the laws banning the burqa and/or niqab in various countries of the European Union in the last several years under the guise that such laws would protect Muslim women from being oppr essed (The Islamic veil across Europe). In this Orientalist framing of the issue, the veil is understood as a symbol of oppressive and excessive religiosity, and Western states are positioned to advance gender equality and secularism by regulating the exce ss religious expression of Muslims. Such conflict between Islam and Western modernity has been staged under the premise that Western modernity is the rational choice for social, political, and economic progress. Bernard Lewis writes in positive terms of Is Western modernity, particularly Western models of economic advancement and political perhaps restore their lost s modernity, are thus treated favorably in the nation state. As I show in Chapter 4 on the September 11 Digital Archive, Muslims strategically use this knowledge to frame themselves as
23 modern Am erican subjects so that they can be legible as victims of racial violence after 9/11. Part of the performance of the good Muslim also requires that Muslims dissociate themselves port terrorism. While the bad Muslim holds onto an excessive religiosity, and acts against American democratic values, the good Muslim represses racial difference to fit within the American national imaginary. In the post 9/11 moment then, the nation stat e has demarcated not one, but two reductive subjectivities for Muslims. This binary of the good and bad Muslim evokes the oppositional tropes of the model minority and Yellow Peril which were historically crafted to frame Asian Americans, and constitutes a specific iteration of that trope applied to Muslim subjects. 13 Frank Chin and Jeffery Paul Chan offer a biting critique of such binary racial identities by noting that forms of the acceptable and unacceptable minority (65, 66). By outlining modes of appropriate society, maintain[s] the continuity and growth of Western civilizatio n, and enforce[s] white subject from challenging white supremacy (67 discourse of the good and bad Muslim too, as good Muslims are enjoined to accept the normative racial ideologies of the modern American state. Thus, the acceptance of the good or model Muslim within the nation state is conditioned on subordination to an existing racial order: the 13 Okihiro traces the historical constitution of the m odel minority and Yellow Peril to contain Asian American political subjectivities, and I take up his work to study the good and bad Muslim dichotomy similarly keeps Muslims Margins and Mainstre ams when I discuss Wajahat The Domestic Crusaders
24 Muslim subject must curb that racial difference which has been defined as a threat to the security and existence of the nation state. Inscribed in the restrictive subject positions of assimilated immigrant or violent terrorist and alienated from mainstream cultural and political imaginaries after 9/11, Muslims once more confront the te nuousness of their belonging to the nation state. And while Muslims retain legal claims to citizenship status, even their ability to exercise these rights has been compromised by their position as a devalued and suspect racial population. Nadine Naber coins the term y the state to target Muslims, and recurrent public conversations about Muslims as suspect citizens. act out normalized behaviors to prevent suspicion cultiva and political participation in the nation state (Naber Rules of Forced Engagement 254). In this at any time be attacked immigrants, or lacked citizenship were particularly vulnerable in the racialized regime of the nation state. Although Naber focuses particularly on the post 9/11 experience of Muslims, the immigration history I have reviewed earlier indicates that Muslims have had multiple traumatic encounters with state and private racism. These confrontations, however, have been buried repeatedly in the collective psyche of the marginalized group as i t struggles to acknowledge the traumatic knowledge of its contingent status in the nation. I situate 9/11 as a moment that ruptures the historical fantasy of assimilation and brings about a painful encounter with the longer repressed history of racial stat e projects. While scholars like Evelyn Alsultany and
25 Mahmood Mamdani (whose work I have discussed above) have traced the historical and normative construction of reductive subject positions for Muslims, their work has not sufficiently attended to the psych ic costs of assimilating to normative racial stereotypes. Thus, my project is broadly concerned with the struggle of Muslims to grapple with the loss of social and cultural belonging in the nation state after 9/11, even as this loss has been shaped from th e earliest period of Muslim immigration history to the United States and inherited by subsequent generations. My project investigates the ideological conditions and terrains on which Muslims reckon with this loss, and the social and political possibilities opened up through this reckoning. I propose that these questions can be productively framed in the lens of racial melancholia a psychic condition that stems from the failure of the raced immigrant to assimilate to dominant cultural norms and the inabili ty of the racial subject to grapple with the loss of belonging. I draw on the conceptual framework of racial melancholia because of the capacity of the melancholic subject to sustain an engagement with loss. Defined by Freud as a form of failed mourning, m elancholia develops when libidinal investment in a lost object or ideal is not detached, and the subject settles into a prolonged state of dejection, refusing to confront that it has lost something. Abraham and Torok observe that the difference between mou rning and melancholia is that of introjection and incorporation. In mourning, the lost object is introjected, or fully assimilated psychically (Abraham and Torok 126). Melancholia occurs when mourning is unsuccessful: the lost object is incorporated or swa
26 whom he has lost but not what This ear ly work on melancholia has been extended by several Asian Americanist scholars to frame the social and political conditions which germinate racial melancholia. David Eng and Shinhee Han explore how the racial subject is drawn into a melancholic state by th e loss of belonging, a failure to assimilate upon the normative terms set by the nation. They argue that for Asian Americans, assimilation refers to an internalization of white, bourgeois, heteronormative unattainable distance, at once a compelling assimilation as a pathway to cultural belonging and legal protection, the knowledge of its incompleteness is a traumatic reckonin g. Eng and Han write that the dominant racial mold ascribed to Asian Americans, that of the model minority, is a melancholic social formation that enjoins them to internalize the dominant norms of the nation state in order to avoid the label of the perpetu racial subjectivity which does not conform with the dominant order of the nation state. In the post 9/11 moment, Muslims have experienced this social pressure acutely as they have been called upon to demonstrate their acceptance dominant American norms to avoid being categorized as anti address Muslims as melancholic subjects, I believe that their i nterpellation as devalued racial subjects either foreclosed from national belonging or allowed assimilation within restrictive racial types brings them within the conditions for racial melancholia. s a productive possibility for framing the term in the registers of raced identity, and specifically, a marginalized one, in that
27 subjecthood and citizenship. 14 If Freud defined melancholia as a failed mourning, and an improper subject investment in a long term project of dejection and self harm, Eng and Han and other scholars who write about racial melancholia recover this pathologi zed condition as one capable of germinating social and political transformation. While mourning 4). In maintaining this open relationship to history, the into the context of the nation state, this means that racial minorities can challenge nationalist historiography, and the interpretation of events like 9/11 that have been stitched to form a coherent national narrative. Specifically, in the post 9/11 momen t, I show how Muslims, as melancholic subjects are positioned to unearth those events and experiences which have been submerged, underemphasized, or challenge existing national narratives of racial progress and justice. I explore these possibilities by out lining a melancholic citizenship, a psycho social mode of participation in the political life of the nation that allows racial minorities to recover repressed memories of the violence inherent to a hierarchical racial order. I am concerned with those pract ices of melancholic citizenship by which Muslims mourn their devalued position as racial citizens and testify to the psychic costs of racial wounds. This is a form of citizenship that envisions alternate ethico political modes of kinship rooted in shared h istories of oppression and 14 Tettenborn is writing about melancholic resistance in African American literature. She notes that melancholia
28 reaching towards transnational, interethnic and intergenerational alliances between racially oppressed subjects. By constructing a practice of citizenship around racial melancholia, I trace the difficulties posed by that psychic splintering brought about by confrontations with racist systems, but strive, nonetheless, to locate its affordances. My goal is neither to reify the suffering of marginalized Muslims nor to pathologize the melancholic condition. Rather, I use the optics of racial melancholia to illustrate the disruption and transformation that marginalized subjects are capable of bringing to the power structures of the nation. Citizenship, as Sunaina Maira suggests, is understood by Muslims to be a compromise that affords economic opportunities without guarantees of civil rights (Maira 15). 15 Yet, Muslims carefully navigate the post 9/11 political landscape for the material and immaterial benefits afforded by citizenship. I develop the paradigm of melancholic citizenship spe cifically as a form citizenship is concerned with rights and freedoms, and the political element with suffrage, then e from the right to a modicum of economic welfare and security to the right to share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life of a are partic ularly invested in overcoming model minority discourse, the dominant mode of belonging for Asian Americans, as it has limited the capacity of Muslims to experience fulfilling and productive lives. The type of the good Muslim, a specific sub set of model mi nority subjectivity, also incorporates Muslims within the nation as subordinated and marginal subjects. 15 Sunaina Maira has been one of the Asian American Studies scholars to investigate how Muslims, particularly Missing she and its powers as it shapes their experience of family, migration, work, and edu
29 Melancholic citizenship allows Muslims, above all, to acknowledge their vulnerability as marginal subjects, and offer testimony about the pain of their continued alienation. This melancholic testimony gives utterance to racial grief and enables Muslims to confront their cultural, political, and racial losses in the nation state and resist the normative terms of their racial interpellation. I situate the a rticulation of melancholic testimony as a existing regimes of citizenship and new political constellations which work both within and giving voice to their encounters with racial institutions and ideologies through melancholic testimony, Muslims become living specters who hold the nation state accountable for its continuing investment in devaluing their subjectivity and maintaining a ra cial order that is inherently hierarchical and unequal. As Gary Okihiro observes, Asian defined racial lines, and have already done so in the past (155). In order to do so, Muslims must first confront how the dominant binary modes of framing Muslims, the model minority (or good Muslims) and the terrorist (as the bad Muslim) operate melancholically to deny them more nuanced and fuller expressions of their subject po sition. This project welds psychoanalytic critique to racial formation to frame race and racial wounds as the social and psychic legacy inherited by and to be grappled with by subsequent generations of racial subjects. Although I focus on the psychic pheno menon of racial melancholia, I also reject the inward turning tendencies of this condition by tracing its development to social and political events in the nation state. I draw on and locate the theoretical grounds of this project in critical race studies, psychoanalysis, and trauma studies. In reiterating that psychoanalytic critique must attend to the psychic effects of racial violence on Muslims, I
30 Eurocentric norms to a Worlds of Hurt nal accounts of expressed by Muslims, specifically as this grief pertains to the impact of racial violence on the immigrant psyche. Such violence is not restr icted to major events of racism which might define racial trauma, but also covers the daily, accretive microaggressions that slowly take a toll on psychic health and impede the subject from living a life of full potential. I also situate this project in th e resurgence of interest in Asian American psychoanalytic critique as indicated by scholars like Anne Anlin Cheng, Juliana Chang, and David Eng and Shinhee Han. Anthony Sze Fai Shu notes that bridging these two fields allows Asian American potential of Asian American lives by placing them in inequitable racial hierarchies (17). My project examines these possibilities in the context of melancholic citizenship, s pecifically as it offers an opportunity to Muslims to understand the limitations of the model minority subject position and work through the feelings of grief, anger, guilt, and shame that attend the performance of this subordinated racial formation. Anne The Melancholy of Race is an important reference point for my project, particularly on the topic of racial grief. grief, the presence and ar ticulation of psychic injury due to racism, and racial grievance, the politicization and legal pursuit of racial equality predicated on that injury.
31 discourse of grievance accompanying vicious cycles of blame, guilt, and denigration binding both the privileged and nnot be cleanly performed, and that melancholic testimony imbricates racial grief and racial grievance. In the texts I study here, Muslim subjects are already revealed to be bound up in cycles of denigration and shame brought about by a failure to assimila te. This does not imply, however, that they are passive victimized objects. Rather, in voicing their testimony, they express the pain of their racial wounds and a desire to interrupt their interpellation into racial systems which, by continuing to inflict harm, constrain Muslims to the site of their wounds. Melancholic citizenship offers both, an examination of current dominant modes of belonging that lead to racial grief, as well as the opportunity for renegotiating the terms on which Muslims are incorpor ated in the nation state. This imbrication of racial grief and racial grievance relies on a politics of vulnerability 16 by which Muslims and their raced allies acknowledge their marginality in the nation state and form alliances based on shared histories of racial oppression. These alliances are rooted in the intergenerational transfer of memories of racial violence. In two of my chapters in this project, I argue that the affective impact of historical racial violence continues to have contemporary resonance because the collective memory of the ethnic group group identity is shaped by enduring collective memories (Halbwach 64). Halbwachs explains 16 In Chapter 3 Precarious Lives to define the politics of vulnerability through which the inward focus on racial melancholia can be transformed
32 forgotten in individual memories. 17 More recent scholarship on cultural and racial trauma in ethnic studies also suggests that collective memory orients the identity formation of the ethnic group, even as it is shaped and updated with content that newer generations find relevant to their lives. 18 In my project, I show that collective memory operates within the logic of racial melancholia because it encodes and preserves troubling historie s of systemic violence. The melancholic retains a hold on the wounds of racism, and this hold is further enabled by collective memory which keeps them alive and relevant. The transformation of racial grief into racial grievance does not necessarily mean though that that these memories of racial trauma are exorcised from the imaginary of the ethnic group. I do suggest, however, that alliances for racial justice enable melancholic subjects to collectively mourn and work through traumatic memories of racial oppres sion. In delineating this practice of citizenship, I resist the tendency to valorize racial grief as the grounds for political movements. I do not believe that Muslims are obligated to suffer in perpetuity to find a more productive paradigm of national be longing. In this regard, I am aligned hierarchies which subjugate and lead to racial melancholia. Bringing together Asian American Studies and psychoanalytic critique enables this project to attend to racial wounds, to the internalized injuries of racism and social exclusion, with the purpose of recovering the racial 17 The nation state might also encourage its marginalized subjects to forget histories of systemic oppression. with which the nation came into existence and continues about its existence (Renan 3). 18 focuses, for example, on how collective memories of slavery form the root of African Ameri Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity offers a number of case studies on how traumatic events like the Holocaust and 9/11 are recorded in collective memory.
33 subject from racial formations that solidify marginality. In striving against their emplacement in restrictive and historically constituted post 9/11 subject positions, Muslims turn the loss encoded by racial melancholic into a more productive means of navigating their lives in the nation state and striving against their ouster from its cultural bounds. If the normative discourse on good and bad Muslims perceives the racial difference of Muslims as a threat to the nation state, melancholic citizenship offers a mod e of belonging that resists that inscription. Aside from a vested interest in psychoanalysis, Asian American Studies has also maintained an investment in studying the racialization of Muslims after 9/11, and the historical and transnational resonances that this racialization evokes. 19 Scholars like Sunaina Maira and Moustafa Bayoumi have examined how Arab and Muslim youth navigate their social and legal exclusion after 9/11, 20 while others like Rajini Srikanth have undertaken comparative studies of Japanese i nternment during World War II and the detention of Muslims after 9/11. 21 Although the paradigms of citizenship, racial formation, and alliance building have been evoked in these scholarly works, a literary study of the psychic costs of exclusion and alienat ion on Muslims in particular has not yet been undertaken. Eng and Han as well as Cheng address other ethnic subjects under the umbrella of Asian American Studies, but they neither address Muslims as model minorities nor do they examine the potential for tr ansnational and interethnic alliances under racial melancholia. Writing about inter ethnic solidarities among South Asians, Arabs, and 19 George Lipsitz obse uses the specific historical experiences of Asian Americans to produce comparative studies of the role national cultures play in forming citizens and gendered subj 20 Missing: Youth, Citizenship, and Empire after 9/11 biographical portraitures of Muslim youth in How Does It Feel To Be A Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America are concer ned with the coming of age experience of Arab and Muslim youth in the post 9/11 moment. 21 Constructing the Enemy: Empathy/Antipathy in U.S. Literature and Law later to explore the formation of interethnic alliances between mel ancholic subjects.
34 Muslims, Cainkar and Maira wonder whether American and Arab American Studies he possibility of deeper and importan t alliances not only among the groups drawn into the racial formation of Muslims, but also with other racial and ethnic groups in America that have long histories of organized political struggles against racist systems. I hope to build on their work by out lining emerging Muslim political subjectivities and resistances rooted in racial melancholia. I develop this concept of melancholic citizenship in the context of literary and cultural texts about the post 9/11 treatment of Muslims in America. Two literary works, The Domestic Crusaders (a play by Wajahat Ali, Pakistani American playwright) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (written by the Pakistani novelist, Mohsin Hamid) address the alienation of Muslims who find they have been pushed outside the protective boundaries of the nation state after 9/11. By drawing attention to aggrieved Muslim subjects and legitimizing their suffering, these literary works stage an important intervention in the genre of 9/11 literature, which has been critiqued for glossing over 22 Peter Morey observes that when Muslims are represented in 9/11 fiction, they have been given limited subject positions, often to underscore the injustices of Islamic rule and justify neoconservative 23 22 Falling Man Netherland when she makes this argument. 23 Terrorist are both exemplary of 9/11 fiction that pathologizes Muslim masculinity as an aberration and constructs Islamic terrorists as sexually repressed and misogynistic men who rage against American power and excesses. Muslim men are denied other narrative constructions (aside from being terrorists) in these works.
35 9/11, and allows Muslims to express their pain and anger about facing social and legal excl usion. In doing so, their works decenter American national trauma 24 and provide a space of enunciation for Muslims to articulate their melancholic testimony. 25 I incorporate a third literary text, The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, a Japanese American novelist, to suggest that the category of post 9/11 literature should be expanded to allow linkages to other historical moments of national crisis. Comparative literature can help to shift the insular focus of the genre of post 9/11 literature by showing that 9/11 is not an exceptional crisis; the nation state has experienced other such moments (like the attack on Pearl Harbor) that have also been defined as traumatic. The historical perspective afforded by comparative 9/11 literature highlights the contin uities and intersections in systemic racial briefs by Japanese American activists that I study together are particularly productive because they suggest that such historical connections can yield interethnic alliances. Post 9/11 literature has not adequately addressed how interethnic alliances between marginalized subjects can mount counterhegemonic activisms challenging the racial state. 26 I finally turn to th e September 11 Digital Archive to suggest that scholars interested in the post 9/11 racialization of Muslims must attend to the ways in which digital spaces become conducive to channeling normative narratives of 9/11. There is a need for critical analyses of 24 I focus on the limitations of the national trauma narra tive in Chapter 4 on the September 11 Digital Archive See Trauma at Home an edited collection by Jill Bennett for the emergence of this narrative afte r 9/11. 25 26 The Submission is one of the few 9/11 novels that traces the emergence of interethnic a lliances, but between white liberals and Muslims. My project here is more concerned with racial melancholia as it manifests in marginalized subjects.
36 how digital spaces are entrenched in and reproduce racialized logics. The September 11 Digital Archive is the largest archive dedicated to 9/11, and its cultural and institutional significance as a national repository is apparent from the fact that it w as the first digital archive to be incorporated by the Library of Congress into its own holdings. I turn to this archive as a case study not only on the digital memorializations of 9/11 but also on how Muslims have adapted a new terrain to express racial g rief and grievance. While I cannot study a wider range of digital spaces in this project, I hope that this C hapter indicates the fruitful possibilities of applying theories of racial formation and psychoanalysis to digital expression by marginalized subjec ts. I trace these varying concerns about racial formations of terror, their melancholic operations, and the challenges articulated against them by Muslims in the following chapters of my project. In Chapter 1, I begin by examining how the performance of ra cial subjects as model The Domestic Crusaders reifies as well undermines the dominant racial order of the nation and anger which marks Salman, the Pakistani America n subject who carries out social expectations of the good Muslim, when he understands that his racial performance, even at the cost of self denigration, has not engendered acceptance within the racial hegemony. In allowing three generations of melancholic Muslim subjects to narrate their experiences of social ostracism and complicity with hegemonic projects, Ali constructs an opportunity for the Muslim family to overcome the shame which drives the continuing incorporation of normative social expectations wi thin the melancholic subject. The play outlines the emergence of a nascent political subjectivity of melancholic citizenship in which progressive intergenerational alliances allow Muslims to articulate and mourn their racial wounds in the relative safety o f the domestic subaltern space of the home.
37 In Chapter 2, I suggest that the broadening of the category of post 9/11 literature through the inclusion of texts that connect 9/11 and its aftermath to other historical and transnational moments might bring new perspectives to understanding 9/11. In this C hapter, I do so by examining how The Buddha in the Attic traces the constitution of a collective Japanese American memory indelibly marked by encounters with racist institutions and events. By counterposing her novel with two legal briefs filed by Japanese American activists on behalf of Muslim detainees, I outline the tr ansformation from racial grief to grievance. In testifying to their traumatic encounter with interment in the two legal briefs, Japanese American activists speak from the site of their wounds and intervene in the cts who face the possibility of extraordinary and banal violence as detainees. It is in this intervention on the legal turf, where the state holds moral authority during a time of war, that I locate the potential of melancholic citizenship to mount counter hegemonic activism rooted in shared histories of oppression. While Japanese American legal activism is remarkably successful in its advocacy of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, I caution against an undue enthusiasm for the affordances of melancholic testimony to intervene in the hegemonic terrains of the nation stat e in Chapter 3. I turn to the digital and ideological space of the September 11 Digital Archive to argue that its nationalist historiography of 9/11 circumscribes Muslim voices attesting to the conditio ns of their historically situated racial oppression. The digital archive struggles to meet the conflicting demands of a memorial space, which eulogizes victims, and a critical (digital) public sphere in which Muslims challenge the apparent victimhood of th e nation. Struggling to make themselves
38 heard in such a space, Muslims have to make claims to Americanness, and American citizenship, in order to make themselves legible as aggrieved victims of racial violence. I continue these conversations on psycho spat ial terrains that delimit melancholic The Reluctant Fundamentalist its Muslim subject and American interlocutor in the city of Lahore, an unfamiliar space in the postcolonial Muslim nation that has been coded as dangerous in the American racial imaginary. By using this backdrop for their meeting, Hamid allows Changez, his Pakistani protagonist, to shift the locus of p ower and construct an ideological s pace of enunciation where American empire co nfronts its racial Others. Contaminating his American interloper with rich Lahori food and his troubling melancholic testimony, Changez reverses the fantasy of incorporation and pushes the American towards a political responsibility for the consequences of American actions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. My reading of this novel frames Changez as a melancholic prophet with a transnational consciousness and a vision for a stronger Third World capable of resisting the predatory discursive and capitalist projects of American empire. The novel indicates that even recovering melancholic subjects continue to be shaped by those psychic processes that attend melancholic incorporation, denials of loss, and attendant feelings of shame and anger, and the melancholic retai ns a transnational subjectivity grounded in the concerns of the Global South after the co constitution of melancholic, between empire and its racial Others, has ended.
39 CHAPTER 2 SECRETS SHARED OVER TEA: INTERGENERATIONAL SOLIDARITIES AMONG RECOVERI NG MODEL MINORITIES The Good Muslim dominant norms, especially to white bourgeoi s heteronormative ideals (345). For Asian for the development o f racial melancholia reflect the racial formation of the good Muslim, a figure expected to reify Western modernity and seek the privileges afforded by (a mimicry of) whiteness. As the raced immigrant subject has attached a libidinal investment to the adopt ed homeland (substituting it for the old homeland), this failure to find cultural and social acceptance develops into a melancholic formation when it cannot be confronted or mourned. In the post 9/11 moment, Muslims were brought into a traumatic confrontat ion with the long history of fa iled assimilation because of renewed racial violence directed at them. Although the aftermath of 9/11 was harmful for Muslims, I believe that it also presents Muslims with an opportunity to reinvestigate and challenge the nor mative racial terms on which they have been interpellated in the nation state. This chapter takes a d eeper look at the representation of melancholic subjectivity, its development, symptoms, and impact, in a Muslim American family in The Domestic Crusaders a play by Wajahat Ali. Drawing on Eng and Han, my analysis examines how Muslims in this play adopt the lost ideal of assimilation as a fantasy of melancholic incorporation, because it
40 promises a cultural belonging to and the legal protection of the nation state 1 In this fantasy of incorporation, the lost object is swallowed whole and the subject develops an identification with it, installing it as an ego ideal and protecting it from dissolution. For Muslim subjects, this lost object references the America n norms of bourgeois heteronormative whiteness, and in other words, the racial order upon which the existence of the nation state is predicated. The melancholic racial subject, thus, not only plays a direct role in sustaining these social and racial norms by incorporating them within itself but also holds the possibility of transforming them by the fact of their incorporation. As I show later in the post 9/11 moment, melancholic Muslims have been called upon to continue this fantasy of incorporation by set ting aside their own racial wounds, and accepting the racial ideologies that produce them as subordinate subjects. Model Muslim citizens are enjoined to pursue belonging to the nation by acceding to normative expectations, such as decrying Islamic terroris m and curbing their own threatening racial difference. I argue that The Domestic Crusaders outlines the productive possibilities of racial melancholia when the multigenerational struggle (and failure) of raced immigrants to assimilate can be exposed to new er generations, to prevent a continued psychic investment in internalizing harmful racial hierarchies and ideologies. The melancholic retains those memories which the nation has attempted to forget because these memories attest to minority encounters with oppressive power structures, and as such, are valuable, unofficial records for younger 1 I believe, as Leti Volpp does, that Asian Americans, especially Muslims, continue to be inscribed as sub jects who possess an excess of cultural and racial difference and this hampers their ability to exercise their full citizenship against which w integration, as a form of sociality respects the difference of racial Others, then assimilation calls on racial minorities to temper that difference in order to be granted full citizenship rights. Assimilation then is the promise of social, political, and legal belonging implicitly and overtly made by the nation state and its disciplinary institutions to racial minorities, as long as the latter accept their racial d ifference as subordinate to whiteness.
41 generations who are attempting to carve out their own lives in the nation state. The play suggests that the comparative framing of the social and legal exclusion before and after 9/11 can cultivate intergenerational solidarities and strategies for grappling with the biopolitical racial regime of the American nation state. This C hapter thus shows the recuperative potential of intergenerational alliances and knowledge shari ng, especially when the raced subject overcomes the shame associated with the failure to assimilate to the norms of the ego ideal, in other words, of an adopted homeland and its social and racial order. While affective registers, particularly of love and h ate (directed at the ego play is especially concerned with shaming rituals and melancholic secrets that protect the ashamed racial subject. The play also highlights, however, the difficultie s inherent to this recuperative process, especially when the subject cannot shake the libidinal investment in the fantasy of assimilation, and constructs an unspeakable melancholic secret about the failure to assimilate that is bequeathed to the next gener ation to grapple with. The broader goal of this C hapter is thus to highlight a post 9/11 emergent political subjectivity rooted in the melancholic condition, cultivated in a domestic subaltern space, and transcending the grasp of the model minority discour se on the Muslim psyche. Although this subjectivity is not fully realized in The Domestic Crusaders the unveiling of shameful family secrets at the end of the play suggests a cathartic melancholic development, one that allows the subject to interrupt the continuing incorporation of the fantasy of assimilating on the normative terms of the nation state. Through communion 2 with other racialized group members, this political subjectivity uncovers the violence buried in the 2 to articulate and successfully mourn a lost object (128).
42 hegemonic order which the racial sub ject incorporates or swallows whole. In rejecting that order, the racial subject resists the pressure of self mutilation, which is a pressure to excise the racial difference which makes Muslims a threat to the nation state. This call to self mutilation, p art of the discourse of assimilation, expects the immigrant to slough off cultural and racial difference, and internalize the dominant social, political, and racial ideologies of the nation assimi lation as an ideal come to see their own racial difference as an aberration, even as they strive to celebrate and maintain their difference. In the post 9/11 landscape, this discourse of self mutilation is most directly framed in the trope of the good Musl im, a specific sub set of the model minority subjectivity applied to Muslims. The good Muslim, just like the model minority, is given conditional acceptance to the nation state when that subject accepts the conditions of Western modernity. Mahmood Mamdani traces the expectations of the good Muslim in distinction to the bad Muslim, while arguing that globally, Muslim subjectivity has been reductively framed in these binary terms by Western discourse. Bad Muslims are terrorists and those who support or defend terrorism. Any Muslim could potentially fall in that category unless they actively situate themselves as good Muslims. Good Muslims, he writes, are expected to be Am In the Western imagination, political Islam is posited not only as pre modern, but specifically as anti modern (19). This is why good Muslims living in the West are asked to prove their loyalty to thei r nation and differentiate themselves from the bad Muslims by asserting their the war
43 against them, internalizing the values of Western modernity, and advocating them over political, cultural, and religious beliefs distilled from Islam and their original homeland (15). In other words, Western modernity, in its geopolitical manifesta tion in America, becomes the ego ideal of the Muslim subject. When Western modernity constructs specific Islamic practices as anti modern (such as the hijab), the subject is expected to defer to the former and excise that racialized difference. It is this excess which forms the kernel of racial melancholia and is buried within the subject. Although this kernel remains submerged, it is not entirely inactive and, as Ali shows in The Domestic Crusaders it threatens to constantly erupt out of the melancholic s ubject and challenge the established racial order of the nation state. The good Muslim, as a sub set of the model minority racial formation, should then be understood as a melancholic subject who experiences the tension of sustaining two melancholic proce sses: first, suppression of the excised racial excess in the psyche for the successful performance of the good Muslim, and second, the upholding of the ideal of assimilation as an approachable goal, even when that ideal has been repeatedly compromised. It is this ideal which attributes shame to racial excess, and drives its suppression. In the play, the performance of the racial subject as a model minority and a good Muslim simultaneously reifies existing racial ideals while undermining them. Gary Okihiro l ocates these contradictions within the historical dominance, or the status quo, but it also poses a challenge to the relationship of majority over 3 It is this challenge to the social production of subjugated good Muslims and model minorities that I inten d to outline in my analysis 3 nd, the threat of racial difference historically constituted as, the white identity that the state can authorize the disciplining of Asian American Others, even by resorting to violence.
44 on melancholia and mourning, and their differentiation of introjection (successful mourning that fills emptiness with language) from incorporation (unsuccessful mourning when loss cannot be the subject some semblance of possession over the lost love object. Incorporation, they write, is f the melancholic appears to be locked into a dejection without end, and actively sustains an identification with the love object, the fantasy of incorporation substitutes for the introjection the melancholic refused to and Torok suggest that the melancholic subject yearns for introjection, a recuperative mourning that closes the open wound of the lost object. The Domestic Crusaders highlights the difficulties inherent in transmuting incorporation into introjection, but attests to the importance of intergenerational and communal knowledge sharing to this process The Melancholic Wake The Domestic Crusaders premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2005, an d then travelled to the Nuyorican Poets Caf in New York in 2009. Its debut date in New York, on September 11, 2009, was a provocative and risky choice by Wajahat Ali, who hoped to confront Counterp unch) 4 the model minority symbolizes 9/11 context, the Yellow Fever has been modern and violent terrorist figure, while the mo del 4 In an NBC interview, playwright Wajahat Ali explained that this focus on the minority fami ly unit was an attempt NBC Interview).
45 the experience of Muslims after 9/11 itself stands out in the genre of post 9/11 literature. Scholars like Margaret Scanlan have argued that this genre has been too invested in bulwarking American vulnerabilities about the d ecline of a global empires and hence, could not attend to the who have been framed as a threat to that empire (267). In a similar vein, Anker argues that literatu return to a bygone era of American omnipotence wherein white, heteronormative, patrician the lures of these dominant ideologies of American empire, particularly as they call to racial minorities to a perpetually incomplete mimicry. The play, set at some point after 9/11, unfolds in the course of a single day inside the home of a Pakistani Ame rican family. The youngest generation, Salauddin (who goes by Sal), Fatima, and Ghafur are the American born children of Salman and Khulsoom, characterized by Ali as financially stable immigrant parents who closely maintain their ethnic and cultural tradit ions and ideas despite having lived in America since their marriage. The oldest family story of Partition violence which closes the play. Heated political conv ersations, particularly about the treatment of Muslims after 9/11, become the source of increasing familial conflict in the play, eventually erupting into physical violence when Ghafur abruptly announces that he has stopped pursuing his medical degree in f avor of a career in teaching history, and his father, po litical specificity of the play, I also believe that Ali is evoking what Bayoumi has discussed elsewhere as drawing nuanced portraits of Muslim Americans. As Bayoumi observes, Muslim Americans have been the frequent subjects of profiles (and profiling), an d the American government and media has chosen to tell particular binary narratives of youth in his work, Ali draws characters with complex subjectivities who evade the simplistic profiles of Muslim Americans constructed in American popular culture.
46 Salman, responds by striking him. The second half of the play uncovers two family secrets one shared between Salman and Khulsoom about the former being denied a promotion at work, after decades of per during the Partition. My analysis of the play focuses on the written transcript and metatextual elements such as stage directions and casting descriptions rather than the actual performance. The play has been performed in California and New York, but it was last performed in 2010, and no video recording exists for public consumption. While the audio visual and performative meanings generated during the staging of the play cannot b e fully recovered, the manuscript yields demeanor at critical moments of familial conflict. The stage directions make it clear when actors yell at each other f or emphasis or make a direct address to the audience to bring familial issues to the attention of a broader public. The manuscript also includes metatextual commentary on the clothing of the characters, noting, for example, that Fatima is to wear a hijab t hroughout the play; a choice that Fatima eventually defends to her father when he asks her why she wears the hijab at home. I address some of the stage cues that are relevant to my reading o f the play later The Pakistani American family has gathered to c first birthday, and the play begins on a cheerful note. As the curtains rise, the adhan, the call to prayer echoes in takes the hijab off to continue cleaning the family room. Rushing about, she hums a Tom Jones A mericans by giving its characters complex and shifting subject positions that are not solely
47 rooted in religious beliefs. Khulsoom, while fulfilling gendered expectations of household labor, is not given a flat, overdetermined religiosity. She wears the hi jab, but clearly has the freedom to take it off, and in showing an interest in Islamic traditions as well as Western music, her constructing complex Muslim America n subject positions is noteworthy given the reductive profiles more generally constructed in the American news and popular media. Maira notes that through the rhet oric of religion and the clash of civilizations (Maira 27). This framing suggests that Muslim Americans are best understood in the context of their religious identity, and simultaneously positions them as citizens with suspect loyalties who must demonstrat e their allegiance to the American nation. in the play undermine the lyrics and raise troubling questions about the capacity of the nation state to embrace its Muslim ci tizens, suggesting instead the ease with which racial paranoia feeds mainstream distrust of Muslim. The detrimental impact of these external events on family relationships further emphasizes the pressure that oppressive social ideologies put on minority fa milies. Yet, Ali shows at various points that the socially ostracized family has that capacity to love and support its members, and indeed, their gathering is to celebrate a birthday, a joyous occasion of renewal and the possibilities of life. I, however, read this gathering primarily as a form of communion or wake to mourn a loss, specifically, the failure of the Muslim immigrant to belong and to assimilate to the nation. Abraham and Torok frame the ritual of a communion or wake 5 as a means of introjecting or mourning a loss, of filling the absence left by the loss. They 5 Although these terms refer to specific Christian rituals, Abraham and Torok unmoor the te rm from its religious connotations as they are more interested in the social function of these rituals for communal mourning that
48 In trojecting a loss allows a subject to fill the emptiness of that loss by shifting libidinal relationships and articulations of loss are crucial, in their formulation, for the melancholic subject to overcome the loss. Introjection relies on the mourning subject articulating loss through nature of the loss, and that the absence of the beloved object is registered keenly on a corporeal plane. To fill the hole left by the loss, the mourner fills the empty mouth with language and forms social relationships to replace the lost object. At a wake, the mourner also fills the empty mouth w ith food, a literal ingestion that stands for the process of introjection and another declaration that the mourner will not cannibalistically consume the lost object instead. The opening act of The Domestic Crusaders shows Khulsoom and Fatima preparing a m eal for the family, and in the course of the day, the family frequently gathers to eat and talk. Ali gathers these introjective forms, the ritual of the wake, mourning family members, and foods, to enable the melancholic immigrant to halt the process of in corporating the lost ideal of assimilation and instead begin confronting and mourning that loss. 9/11 is an introspective moment for Muslims as their post 9/11 treatment dredges up a longer and partially buried history of racial Othering in the United Stat es. In the play, the family gathers to exhume that lived history, and mourn and recuperate from the psychic wounds sustained from racism. A wake simultaneously allows for communal mourning while productively engages with loss. I draw on this conceptual angle in reading a play about the Muslim American experience.
49 enabling the mourner to move past that loss. This possibility of renewal and recuperation is a commonality between a wake and the birthday that the family has gathered to celebrate. More crucially, a wake acknowledges a loss, and articulates the effects of that loss on the mourner. In The Domestic Crusaders Ali in stalls post 9/11 Othering as a disruptive force on the historical fantasy of incorporation sustained by Muslims. The Pakistani American family has gathered to understand the implications of that disruption and interrogate how and why they sustain such a fa ntasy about assimilation. Early in the play, Ghafur narrates his experience of racial profiling at the airport and allows the family to embark on this endeavor of unearthing melancholic secrets. Such incidents of racial profiling might be a trope in post 9 /11 literature The Reluctant Fundamentalist also offers a lengthy explanation of how its Pakistani protagonist is singled out for extra screening at an American airport and frequently draws publ ic scrutiny because of his beard. after 9/11, and tacitly pressured to curb their threatening racial difference as good Muslims. As Ghafur is waiting to board his flight home, he is suddenly struck by a moment in which he perceives himself under and from a gaze of whiteness which orients the construction of Muslimness as a threat. He first remembers a story about a Punjabi Sikh man who was forcibly deboarded because the man was an affluent, tax paying college professor of English, no less with American citizenship, he was kindly asked to leave so as not to endanger and disturb the ps ychological and mitigating the risk of his race. By positioning a Sikh man as a victim of race based paranoia,
50 Waj ahat Ali points out the failure of racial profiling (in accurately identifying Muslims, let alone terrorists) and the collapsing of racial, cultural, and ethnic differences in construing the racialized acceptable behavior permitted to a brown man at the airport is very small. He thus wonders if e [the Sikh man] looked? Maybe he smelled funny? Maybe he made terrorize the flight attendants and passengers. beyond its religious connotations to include geopolitical and cultural identities. The racialization of Muslims relies on several facts, among others, imbuing religious signifiers with racial meaning, essentializing cul tural markers (clothing, language, and so on) to construct the racial (Silod and Embric 649 651). The final turn in this racial formation is the linking of th 9/11 moment, the American government had played a singularly important role in constructing and maintaining this discursive category in order to control a suspect immigrant population The nation continuing investment in this racial formation is made evident in spaces such as the airport where it undergirds the surveillance, policing, and racial profiling Muslim subjects. Crucially, the discursive practices of the nation state press normative American citizens into the project of upholding racial formations and acting as agents of the state in reporting the so called suspicious behavior of racial Others.
51 lized by the melancholic subject, who polices himself by the racial norms he has incorporated. After Ghafur recalls the story of the Sikh man, he begins cataloging his own appearance, behavior, and dress and comes to the startling conclusion that he could be typed as the Muslim terrorist figure that sandals, with a grizzly beard, with my prayer cap on, a Sports Illustrated in my back pocket and a new paperback of Jihad and Terrorism of the bad Muslim in a post 9/11 context. The sports magazine might normalize the Muslim subject but its effects are cancelled by the presence of the book on jihad. The sandals, prayer cap and beard are not suspicious markers in themselves, but on a Muslim man, they are construed as evidence of his excessive and antiquated religiosity. Ali shows that even the raced subject affected by these racial constructions is not immune to this pressur e of self reporting, of markers on and of his body brand him as a bad Muslim, gesture to his own internalization of the American racial logic. When he is event ually pulled aside before boarding for an extra screening, as Gh afur expects to be singled and pulled aside for extra screening. five minu tes doing a body search. They check my wallet, my keys, my belt, the contents of my neutral and unaffected as though he is merely reporting what is happening fro m an external
52 perspective. However, a touch of opprobrium enters his numb narration when he describes how on by, witnessing the Muslim Inscribed in the terms of animality, and removed from the registers of personhood, dignity, feelings, and rights, the Muslim subject can be turned into a spectacle in this manner. rience at the airport, and later, in his retelling of his story. Before Ghafur begins narrating the story to his family (and the audience of the play), the stage directions of the play note how the actor is to be situated alone on stage to speak directly t the family area. GHAFUR walks downstage, FATIMA and SAL handing him his bag and book, and arrives alone, downstage center, in a special light. GHAFUR addresses the audience now (39) The play returns Ghafur to the original scene of exclusion, forcing him to reexperience his subject to this troubling moment to evince the empathy of the audience and promp t them to re examine the threat of the Muslim subject to the nation state. The audience members, just like the passengers at the airport, are made complicit to the exclusion and treatment of Muslims after 9/11. Constructing this moment of self examination, however, only occurs when the aggrieved racial subject opens himself to public scrutiny again, thereby making himself vulnerable again to racialized fears and judgements. The public and visual nature of the initial spectacle at the airport is necessary to the logic of racial profiling because it instructs American citizens on identifying bad Muslims, and normalizes their treatment. The public performance also reassures American citizens of the loyalty of Muslims, and allows Muslims to demonstrate their goo dwill by consenting to their
53 spectacular shaming. As a ritual intended to shame the melancholic Muslim about his racial difference, and ensuing failure to find social acceptance within the nation, racial profiling acts as an exercise in coercive power and state control over the agency, body, and life of Muslims. The model minority cannot control his displacement from the social imaginary or the exertion of an unfair power over his person. This is the kind of experience that the melancholic subject buries in his psyche, because it is evidence that his performance as a model minority and a good to being turned into a spectacle is the final nod to state control. In o rder to live in America, he accepts his treatment as a second class citizen with curtailed rights and freedoms. In this moment of personal crisis, Ghafur is alone as none of the witnessing passengers express their discomfort at his treatment. Rendered less than human, an animal at a zoo, his plight is a source of entertainment for fellow passengers and citizens. Both the minority subject and the witnessing Americans are reminded of the Otherness of the former during this spectacle. Ghafur believes that the sanitization indicates that the racial difference of the Muslim subject is a threat by means of contamination because it exceed s and subverts the existing racial hegemony of the nation state which privileges whiteness. 6 Contamination, as a racial fear rooted in colonial discourse, evokes contam withdraw their participation in the racialized regime of the United States, in other words, cease 6 In C hapter 5 on The Reluctant Fundamentalist I trace the subversive effects of this racial contamination when the protagonist abandons his investment in maintaining American racial ideologies.
54 the performance of the model minority, they would be capable of undermining i ts hierarchical racial categories. The ritual of racial profiling is a disciplinary tool, warning Muslims not to articulate such errant racialized behaviors or to suffer social shaming and escalating punitive punishments. If racial profiling is a temporar y measure, the long term solution to the threat of contamination is assimilation, by which the racial ized Muslim subject accepts the call to excise or temper his racial difference. Assimilation upholds the current racial order and ideologies while promisin g the minority subject acceptance and belonging within the nation allow him to narrate his experience opens the possibility of challenging tha t very state control. The public narration resists the process of melancholic incorporation by rejecting silence and creating a moment for raced subjects to discuss their future in the nation. As Tal observes, storytelling that narrates troubling or even t raumatic experiences is driven by the belief that ce 7 in this narrative moment, as a space for raced subjects to mourn and heal, is quite unique in literature about 9/11. The return to the domestic space has been one of the most common tropes of post 9/11 literature. In these notions of the domestic space the home is both a safe space as well as a space disrupted by the trauma of the 7 I evoke subalternity advisedly here as the Pakistani Muslim fami ly occupies a position of some class privilege, ve arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counterdiscourses, which in turn permit them to formulate wi refer to groups subordinated in or denied access to the public sphere of the nation.
55 9/11 attacks. Elizabeth Anker, for instance, notes that domestic space in post 9/11 literary works is a means of recuperating embattled white masculinity and the apparent wan ing of American power (Anker 465). Richard Gray reads this return to the domestic as one of the failings of the trauma narrative in several works of post 9/11 literature. He argues that the trauma narrative, in which 9/11 is represented as a psychic shock, it in the reductive tropes of Otherness. Although trauma is a disruptive force that might be used of th e personal and domestic (Gray 134). By returning to the domestic space, the literary work refuses to grapple with questions about the treatment of racial minorities (Gray 134). Wajahat tern that Gray, Anker, and others have traced in post 9/11 fiction. subjects who face alienation in national public spaces can gather for collective recuperation. This space is not, however, entirely private because it is open to the audience of the play. A play, more than the novel forms that Gray and Anker read, bridges the gap between the private space of the home and the public space of the nation. The audience is te mporarily permitted entrance to private space and private matters (of political significance), but only as listening and viewing subjects. Even though exigencies of funding might drive the playwright to write for an audience, this audience is not allowed t o interject on the family dialogue underway. Rather than framing the audience as trespassers or voyeurs, however, the play invites the audience into the position of witness. Their temporary passivity is necessary so Muslims have a space of enunciation. Thi s domestic space is still a site of recuperation, but not of masculinity or American power. By sharing stories of their Othering, the family members in the play find an empathetic
56 companionship among each other, and create the possibility for broader polit ical discussions about Muslims in America. As witnesses, the audience too can be drawn into these discussions and transformed by them. Specifically, this constructed, reflective moment interrupts the melancholic fantasy of incorporation. The melancholic su bject who has incorporated loss of assimilation must continue to deny its loss and persist in the holding the ideal within himself to prevent its resurrection. Abraham and Torok refer to this process as a fantasy of incorporation because a fantasy protects to replace an unapproachable desire, for an object or ideal that has been lost. For the melancholic immigrant who yearns for belonging to the nation, and has in ternalized the social norms of the nation state in search of that belonging, the failure to assimilate becomes that lost ideal that cannot be confronted. Yet, the libidinal investment in that lost object cannot be easily shifted onto a new object or a new mode of belonging to the nation. In The Domestic Crusaders 9/11 presents an opportunity to halt this fantasy of incorporation because the melancholic subject is once again confronted with his inability to sufficiently excise his racial difference. Interru pting the process of incorporation is difficult, however, because the subject has swallowed whole the racial order of the hegemony, and holds within himself the core that defines the nation state. The pressure on Muslims to perform as good Muslims penetrat es even the subaltern domestic space of the home, emblematic of the psyche of the racialized immigrant. The play shows the constant vigilance Muslims have to undertake to resist social pressure to excise their racial Otherness. I noted earlier that the tro pe of the good Muslim relies on the belief that Muslims are anti modern subjects, and their loyalty and value to the nation state can only be proven through repetitious demonstrations that they embrace the racial, cultural, and social
57 values of Western mod ernity. The nation state must have proof that it has been installed as the ego ideal of the raced psyche. In the play, this reductive discourse enters the domestic space through the news media that plays in the background, and punctuates family conversatio ns. In the opening act of the play, the post 9/11 context of the play is situated by a briefly played NPR The Orientalist l inkage of Islam and the Middle East with extremism is apparent here, and Fatima turns off the segment after scoffing at and undermining the apparent expertise of the speakers. Later in the play, family conversations are contextualized by similar segments o n Fox it is telling. He calls out state and military discourse which encourages racial stereotypes of general telling me why the on (all) Muslims for the actions of a sma ll group of terrorists. While neither of these news segments overtly instruct on normative behaviors for the good Muslim, they construct Muslim subjectivity as antithetical to American values and the security of the American state. The tacit pressure on M uslims to internalize American norms which devalue Muslim subjectivity, and mitigate the aberration of that identity is more apparent in a third news segment from CNN that Ali includes in length. In this segment, the newscaster reports on an address by Pre o ensure our
58 freedom, and to help protect the liberties and values of all freedom loving people against those who will have to sacrifice or be sacrificed. H owever, the sacrifices are defined as necessary, and handling of expected to sacrifice more, and even accept the curtailment of their freedoms in order to continue living in America. The vague evocations for a sacrifice reflect the uncertainty that Muslims experience about which part of their racial difference is perceived as a threat, and how exactly to make their difference palatable. After Ghafur has narrated his story, the family confronts what sacrifices might be expected of th em, and how to grapple with hegemonic expectations of them after 9/11. In the varied reactions of the family, Ali shows how difficult it is to entirely stop the melancholic that big of a through (41). Moreover, he rationalizes the fear of bad Muslims which drives racial profiling, and asks his family to understand the perspective of the passengers who witnessed the sanitization ritual and were unmoved to challenge it. He wonders whether he would feel and act apparent defense of this ritual, its enf orcers, and witnesses is odd, given the humiliating nature of the spectacle. This defense, which underplays the important event as it is remembered, is a melancholic gesture to protect the wounded ego. The articulation of the story of racial profiling expo
59 and raises difficult questions of whether the subject can find acceptance within the nation. To deflect that vulnerability, Ghafur transfers the racial fears normative subject who is accepted within the nation, to himself, and assumes some part of normativity, even if it is one that participates in his systemic oppression. nd strives to act as a support system so that members can heal from the potentially traumatic encounters with the racial institutions of Fatima, the law student an d civic activist, explodes in outrage and wants Ghafur to feel angered as well. Sal, the oldest brother and a Wall Street employer, attempts to calm the family by reminding them that Ghafur is an American and still has certain rights. I want to particularl y focus on the reactions of Salman and Khulsoom because they both have a longer history of such racial experiences. They constitute a living archive of the nation state treatment of its racial subjects, and can attest to the undue expectations placed on th em to perform as good Muslims. Ali allows the potential of a wake to unfold in the ensuing conversations. The melancholic subjects face a choice here: they can either interrupt the fantasy of incorporation and thereby halt their hegemonic interpellation, or they can reinvest their libidinal drive in the process of assimilation and continue to bury melancholic secrets Overcoming Anger and Shame disruptive moment of 9/11 will ac tually lead to a stronger commitment (on the part of the raced Khulsoom and
60 his Otherness in public. Scolding Ghafur for his role in instigating his own troubling situation, Khulsoom tells him off: Who gave you the brilliant (41). zed words, it is likely that the actor is meant to emphasize them further to indicate the foolishness of for stepping out of his performance of the good Muslim ( by flaunting his racialized markers of difference) and believing that the transgression would go unnoticed or unpunished. Rightfully Ghafur to remove these signs of his racialization, so he can be accepted in American culture. difference when she code switches and intersperses Urdu words into English. The play has a number of such moments when the family fluidly code switches, inviting other Urdu (and related language) speakers into their discursive subaltern space while ostracizing the same mainstream American population which views Muslims with suspicion. Although this code switching occurs within the relatively safer domestic space, this practice along with the emphasis on eating native foods and the continuation of Islamic practices indicates the family remains invested in their cultural and religious difference. This articulation of alterity in the privatized space further suggests the pressures on Muslims to hide these racial markers while they are in the public spaces of the nation. And although Khulsoom and Salman value their Pakistani roots and Islamic practi ces, they nonetheless advise Ghafur to not express
61 previously as a call to self mutilation issued by the nation state to racialized subjects. 8 Instead of expan ding the social imaginary to accept racial difference, this call asks Muslims to excise their subjectivity to fit within the existing racial order. This call is internalized by Muslims because it promises protection and belonging during a tenuous time. Khu fear for his physical well being and safety, and contains an indirect critique of the American state indicate that as a racial ized subject, as a Muslim woman, she does not trust the state to protect her rights. The call to self mutilation is part of the performance of the good Muslims who must bury the racial excess within their psyche and then deny its suppression while continui ng it in order to fit dominant e xpectations of ethnic Others. By denying its loss, the subject rejects the idea that he has changed and lost something of himself in his quest to assimilate. Salman further holds out orming to the racial type of the good Muslim; he wants Ghafur to pursue a medical degree so that he can become a successful doctor with social standing racism and preju dice by aspiring to the racial hegemony: adopting or mimicking dominant cultural norms, working hard without complaint, advancing in the class structure, and not decrying issues like racism which affect minority communities. 8 That this pressure to assimilate comes from Khulsoom, from within the ethnic community is not surprising. Ellen nscripted into the conforming to social pressure. Those who fell ou tside the bounds of that status, defined by an excessive racial difference, would still be considered unfit to belong to the nation. It for these reasons too that Frank Wu argues that 49). The racial category limits Asian Americans from expressing cultural, political, and racial subject positions of their choice.
62 areer is a way in which Ghafur can earn the respect of his peers and the community. He desperately wants Ghafur to work hard and prove his intelligence earned privately later, it is clarified that Salman is referencing white Americans and Americans who are prejudiced against Muslims after 9/11. By using normatively defined Americans as the reference projection of his own burden, of the expectations that he perceives are placed on him by civil society. After 9/11, Muslims have experienced the pressures of this burden acutely, as they have been called on to demonstrate their loyalty to the nation and establish themselves as good uffer for being lumped in with the bad Muslims. In Chapter 4 on The September 11 Digital Archive, I trace how Muslims and Arabs navigate this social pressure, and leverage it to situate themselves as aggrieved American citizens who have experienced racism the fantasy of incorporation, in other words, a fantasy of assimilation, are striking given the psychic costs that he has experienced from sustaining that fantasy for years. When Salman first the vengeful Muslim that drives national paranoia. The stage directions note that the actor must slightly stooped, something, and looks a little haggard anger once he starts perusing the newspaper and watching a news segment on Fox News. He enters the s cene while uttering expletives and complaining about media propaganda blaming
63 rant, thless media, the oil companies Muslims useless also towards the nation state and the ideological agents that shape its racial imaginary is palpable, even if it is not explained yet. In fact, when hi s family overhears his diatribe, he immediately disturbed state. melancholic immigrant. S alman clearly shows (later in the play), that he understands that his own performance as a model minority has not allowed him to fit within the nation, and that this performance has marked him with feelings of humiliation, anger, and pain. Yet, he does not believe that he has an alternative to the fantasy of assimilation, because he does not wish to return to Pakistan where his racial difference might be entirely unremarkable. This dilemma eventually forces him to erupt in anger misdirected from the pressur es of hegemony to his own representation of Muslims in American discourse, Ghafur abruptly announces that he has stopped pursuing his medical degree and has chosen, i nstead, to pursue a career as a teacher specializing in history, and specifically, the Middl e East, Islam, and Arabic. motivated by his desire to shift social conversations and perceptions of Muslims. He explains to his family that he been force but it is felt most deeply by Salman. Feeling betrayed by Ghafur abandoning a career t hat Salman believed would be best for him, Salman ends the argument by first exhorting his father to
64 osion of his patriarchal authority, and an undermining of the material and social capital that he has built over the years through his own performative assimilation. This altercation exacerbates the differences between the family members, but particularly between the three generations. Hakim, the grandfather, retreats alone to his room. Salman and and finally leave the raises a problem particular to narratives of such conflict here. In writing about narratives of intergenerational conflict, Lisa Lowe n otes a troubling tendency in which a focus on (Lowe 63). This displacement shifts the etiology of intergenerational conflict away from the realm of the politic al to that of the familial, while instilling a rift between public events and private life. Rather than considering how intergenerational conflict is fermented by institutional racism, and political and economic exigencies, the conflict becomes attributed to apparently abnormal cultural and familial traits in Asian American families. An intergenerational vertical identified. Any critique of oppressive social con ditions is shifted into a critique of family members who act out against each other. The play, allows, however, for a more nuanced political reading when Khulsoom and the fact that the Othering of Muslims in the United States has a longer history, and stretches beyond 9/11
65 and finally reveals the melancholic secret that Salman has been carrying for decades. As he talks to Khulsoom, Salman recalls their early struggles i n the United States as new immigrants and Muslims in a non Muslim country who had to convert an abandoned liquor store into a mosque, making a home and building a minority religious and ethnic community in America. What irks any of them know? Tell them to move into a non Muslim country and try to build a community w workplace. After thirteen years of working at the same company, his boss still refuses to learn where Salman comes from, and collapses distinctions between India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. his identity, and moreover, to di smiss and denigrate his identity. The feminization of his name is part of the model minority trope. Gary Okihiro notes, for instance, that the model minority r acial difference. If the bad Muslim represents the threat of civilizational war, an excess that cannot be contained, then the good Muslim curbs that threat with a malleability that folds the subject into an existing racial order (142). The immigrant who ha s lost (or left) his native country has a strong libidinal investment in the ideal of assimilation in his new home, as the new country has replaced the native country as the loved object. The immigrant expects to find belonging in the new nation by assimil ating, as this is the notion that is given to the immigrant through government actions, popular culture, and other hegemonic institutions and spaces. The condition of racial melancholia stemming from
66 the failure to assimilate does not develop due a single episode of loss. Rather, it is decades in the making as the immigrant continually experiences the erosion of the desired ideal of assimilation. The failure of the immigrant to assimilate, to belong, occurs repeatedly, and must be covered over in the immigr This long standing history of racism, ignorance, and microaggressions in the public sphere and at his workplace comes to a head after 9/11. During this conversation with Khulsoom, he re veals the truth behind his anger that day: despite his years of service and good work in his engineering firm, he has been denied a promotion. The promotion is instead given to another ceived as a more authentic Muslim because of physical markers such as a beard, and hence a more persuasive company representative to travel to the Middle East. The same racialized markers which are the the company commodifies the Muslim exotic culture and A arab esqu exoticises an d defines a broad and nebulous culture of Muslims in the Middle East. The discourse of American corporate multiculturalism welcomes, at least conceptually, the difference represented by racialized brown bodies as an example of the progressive liberalism of the American nation state. This sort of multiculturalism is particularly valuable when it can be pressed into the service of a capitalist agenda. At the same time, these Other bodies are perpetually foreign, rendered suspect, and subject to the biopolitic al regime of the state.
67 possible outcome of mimicry. The raced subject that mimics whiteness always encounters a Man). The gap between almost, but not quite is insurmountable, even when the melancholic internalizes dominant ideals and values and excises his threatening difference, as Salman has sought to. Yet, the subaltern is driven, by the need to belong, to bridge that gap. It is in that gap, and its contradictions that racial melancholia takes shape. David Palumbo Liu also traces the dejection the Asian American immigrant experiences to this gap. He writes that assimilation produces a raced subject who has only serve to remind him or her of the gap that lies between them and those memories in other Liu 300). The immigr ant is conscious of the artifice of the model minority type, of a stilted mimicry that is never complete, and of looking in from without. The immigrant knows how to perform the role of the good Muslim, and seeks to forget, unsuccessfully so, that this is a performance. All the while, the melancholic holds these various failures within himself, and struggles with the psychic cost of continuing the process of assimilation. The play refuses, however, to treat 9/11 or its effects on Muslims as a rupture in the psychic life of the nation and its ongoing racialization of Muslims. The post 9/11 moment has certainly been marked by specificities such as the PATRIOT Act, the War on Terror, and other particular cultural, social, and political events affecting Muslims i n America. In many contexts, however, such as racial profiling, hate crime, and racism, 9/11 represents a moment of presents the nation r as it affected the lives of older generations of Muslims,
68 Arabs, and South Asians long before 9/11. Ali indicates that the discursive racial category of the the nation state, and demonstrates the psychic costs incurred by Muslims in accommodating their subjectivity to racial formations oriented around whiteness. These costs are first made visible through the experiences of Ghafur, the youngest family member, but Ali soon shows that Salman and Khulsoom, have hidden their own experiences of Othering from their children. Eng and Han have previously framed the model minority as the social formation of racial e erasure and loss of repressed Asian assimilate and the attendant experiences of social and legal alienation, and it is the continued suppression of these memori es that enables racial melancholia. The confrontation at work evokes these repressed memories, and dredges up the anger and shame that Salman articulates in his Ghaf ur, like the younger Muslim colleague who accepted the promotion, has betrayed his trust, and vision of community advancement through solidarity. Salman has trained the employee in the past when he joined the firm, and this fact leaves him feeling twice be trayed. The younger colleague, he believes, should defer to his experience and avoid actions which set Muslims against each other. More broadly, however, his anger is rooted in the fact that his decades long attempts at assimilation, even at the cost of se lf denigration, have not yielded cultural acceptance. In one of the longest exchanges in the play, Salman finally vents his frustrations to his wife: A man works, faithfully, competently, not a single blemish on his entire record, night and day, like a dog As they say in America, give a dog a bone, or throw one at least once in a while, right? This brown, foreign, Muslim dog a Muslim
69 beating. [But] all I have after all these ye ars is a bloody nose and a bloody shirt (79). perceived demands of American norms of bourgeois whiteness, under the misguided belief that it would eventuall y lead to cultural belonging. He allows himself to be referred to and treated in derogatory terms, and finds that years later, this is all that he can expect from civic society. In the post 9/11 moment, he is no longer even tossed a bone once in a while to ensure his complicity. The promotion that he worked hard for and for which he accepted a harmful workplace, is denied to him because he is simultaneously not Muslim enough, and also embodies a threatening Muslimness. The fantasy of assimilation has turned into a farce, with contradictory racial types and expectations that the raced subject could not possibly meet. Ali indicates here that social citizenship in America is premised on whiteness, which is rendered invisible but becomes that acknowledge its role as an organizing principle in social and cultural the hard work and sacrifices which he believes are expected of him as a brown immigrant. As someone who has successfully performed the model minority type, Salman might be framed as raced subject who falls prey to his own material success. By grasping for more social him in a socio economic bracket that signals class mobility, financial comfort, and opportunities for education. These are privileges of class and race that were historically denied to racial minorities. As Sal reminds him elsewhere in the play, he has done well for himself in America and has no need to worry about his financial status. That he can easily provide for his children to complete their u niversity degrees suggests the kind of socio economic position that he has
70 achieved. But even the well to do model minority encounters a workplace glass ceiling, and his ccessful at work. By denying him the promotion, the supervisor reminds him of his subordinate place in the workplace hierarchy, and the racial hierarchy which grants and strips away power from subjugated subjects. The racial formation of the model minority is constituted with its own end in mind: having accrued material wealth, the subject is used as a positive example of progressive multicultural capitalism and a color blind society, and it is precisely that success which hinders him from drawing attention to the oppressive power structures he is enmeshed with. Salman discrimination suit against his company because the promotion was given to another Muslim. The so cial wrongs that he can no longer ignore do not have a legal solution, and this dilemma is This understanding of his racial position, which should be understood as an exposure of holic secret, is one that he cannot productively grapple with. The humiliation that he has suppressed over the years finally turns into an explosive anger. Like Ghafur, who accepted the public spectacle of racial profiling and the indignity which attends t he spectacle, Salman has allowed his colleagues to treat him poorly believing that his hard work would shift their opinions one day. Choosing to persevere and survive in this hostile work environment, he orary, and shifts the onus of change onto himself, the new immigrant in America. The self denigration that Salman allows is symptomatic the lost object or idea
71 melancholic, Salman, comes to believe that he has always been lacking in self respect at work. reproaches ject which have been normative conditions of assimilation, and the nation state which constructs, benefits from, and polices these norms. His melancholic condition prevents him from acknowledging the true source of his frustration, shame, and anger, and until these emotions have been productively dealt with, melan explosive anger, which erupts after decades of submission, performs an affective critique of assimilation. Yet, this anger at his political condition is displaced into a violent ac t committed focus, Ali raises the question of whether the melancholic subject can safely confront the loss of the ideal of assimilation. Moreover, Ali shows that the shattering reality of this most recent workplace incident has upon hearing of the promotion, he left work and spent the entire night, without telling his famil y, at the beach (83). Such an occurrence is unusual for his character, and the revelation raises profound dejection and self reproach encompasses his present, past and stretches into the future, to the extent that he can no longer envision a different mode of living in the United States. For
72 the first time, Salman admits to his wife that he is unsure whether his poor treatment as a Muslim at work, and in America, w ill ever change. When Khulsoom asks him to quit his job and wonders whether they should return to Pakistan, Salman turns down her suggestion and tells her that 9 As the model minority occupies a disposable and devalued subject of the model minority, he does not know how to stop acting out the racial hierarchies he has internalized or how to attempts at drawing him out of this condition fail entirely, and she is only able to prescribe a temporary solution that sustains melancholia: take a nap for the afternoon and forget about what happened (at work, and at home). This private moment between the couple is one in which productive intergene rational alliances might be formed, and the two generations might share those melancholic memories which have been obscured in official narrative and begin to work for a future for the minority corporate employee, and as a Muslim American are relevant to all three of his children in some way. Yet, there is a missed opportunity for the children to situate and understand their own lives in the context of what Salman has already experienced. Ghafur retell precisely the kinds of minority stories and melancholic secrets that Salman and Khulsoom 9 This instance of code switching suggests a more deliberate attempt by Ali to allow th e play to speak to other Urdu the word m ight understand the general sense of dejection that Salman carries about him, but they would fail to grasp
73 have been privately reminiscing. 10 While Salman and Khulsoom worked to create a Muslim community in Ame rica, Ghafur intends his work, as a teacher, to bring awareness about what this community had and continues to suffer through. Salman yearns for the community, and for his children, to understand his efforts, particularly since they are invisible to his co lleagues. The blood he has left on the streets, as he puts it, is simply not legible to his colleagues, fellow Americans who refuse to look past the limited lens of viewing Muslims and acknowledge the sacrifices he has made. Yet, this becomes a moment of p rofound fracturing as the two generations separate further from each other, and silence marks the household. The disruptive potential of 9/11 continue performing as a model minority and a good Muslim. This problem is compounded when Salman asks Khulsoom not to tell their children about the denial of his promotion while to t alk to their children about his past in America, and his most recent encounter with prejudice at his workplace. This urge to protect the young adults (the youngest, Ghafur, has just turned twenty one), is misplaced as all three of them have already had the ir own encounters with racist own melancholic secret and vulnerable subject position. His home and family represents the last space and group where he is respected. Believing that his act of physical violence against Ghafur 10 In Chapter 3 on Japanese American activism on behalf of Muslims after 9 /11, I expand on the possibilities of melancholia memories and histories as the grounds from which marginalized subjects can advocate on behalf of other racial minorities. This incipient possibility is only suggested in this play, but it is more fully real ized in the literary and legal t exts I read in that Chapter.
74 has already started an estrangement between father and son, Salman is unwilling to further lose face before his children. protect a melancholic secret from their children. Namely, the parents withhold a lived history of devalued social citizenship have not resulted in his acceptance in American culture, and his failure contradicts his advice that his children act as model minorities. But having believed that his decades long mimicry would eventually result in being accepted in America, and having believed in assimilation, he cannot no w face the loss of this ideal. Instead, facing the possibility of this receding ideal, ancholic secret, and the rejection of this legacy. Ghafur has chosen a career as a History teacher precisely because it allows him to excavate the past, and bring it to bear on the present. This endeavor directly threatens to uncover the melancholic secrets buried in the racialized psyche. This possibility for an intergenerational transfer of melancholic is precisely what Eng and Han observe in their work on racial melancholia. They write that when the loss (of these ideals of assimilation) is not ed to the second secret, or deal with and heal from the loss of the ideal Spilt Tea and Spilt Secrets Wajahat Ali, however, constructs another opportunity for the Pakistani American family to carry out the proper function of a wake held by raced subjects: to mourn the failure to
75 assimilate, to uncover the buried kernel or excess of racial difference buried by the good Muslim within himself, and to shift from mel ancholic incorporation to a recuperative introjection. While the potential of emergent intergenerational alliances has been deferred in the play, the final act of the play exposes a divisive story to show the family how to work through their melancholic se commits to telling his family about a long held secret from his own past. As the family gathers again in the evening, it becomes apparent that Salman is not goi ng to attempt a reconciliation Sal comments on this when the family seeks to bury the tensions with an apparently superficial conversation about the proper method of making masala chai (tea). Bluntly, Sal shifts ensures that secrets and tensions are repressed rather than confronted. Contravening the purpose of food at a wake, which is to demonstrate that the mourner eats food rather than the lost object, the consumption of the tea in the play is an act of melancholic incorporation. The melancholic su bjects fill their empty mouths, in other words, the hole left by the lost ideal, with food instead of acknowledging the loss through dialogue. Food also plays an important role in The Reluctant Fundamentalist in which the melancholic subject hosts an Amer ican to an empty feasting, allowing him to consume Pakistani cuisine but not his own culturally and racially constituted body. While Lahori cuisine in that novel allows the Pakistani protagonist to challenge the ethnical sensibilities of the American, food in this play becomes another object that ensures the
76 are able to acknowledge loss in some preliminary form. Otherwise, the wake can also work instead to conserve melancholic processes when the subject is beset by feelings of shame and anger. In the play, the family goes to great lengths to cover up the troubling melanc holic memories and violent experiences of racism unearthed during their conversations. In this last act, Ali signals a final attempt to confront the social and political realities facing racial minorities. As Sal is calling out his family on their rituals of repression, his physical gesturing causes Hakim to drop his hot tea and some of it lands on his clothes, scalding him. The the chai splashes everywhere release Hakim from being bound to a secret he has held for many decades, as though an excess that he has held within himself can finally be articulated. As the rest of the family begins quibblin g again, this time about the consequences of their fighting, Hakim stands up and away d and teary eyes are already delving into past memories. Khulsoom immediately asks him to stop, urging that he ysical, psychic and social hurt, and it is triggered by the physical pain of the hot tea and the familial conflict over appropriate behavior for a minority citizen during a time when the nation state fails to protects its more marginal populations. He is a ble to tell his story precisely because he is hurt, suggesting a productive use of the site of the (psychic) wound. And Salman, who has been unwilling to admit his own tell them
77 could also be taken as an entry t well as witness to the traumatic birth of the two nation states. Hakim was a young man during the turbulent event of Partition, when the ouster of the Britis h set into motion a cycle of excess violence, private revenge, and death. Rejecting co habitation of the land, Hindus and Muslims jealousy (97). The grievous violen ce spiraled out of control when private citizens turned into is stunned by the violent death, and initially relies on the state to bring his killers to justice. His shock gradually transforms into anger however, when ano ther Muslim is killed, and then another. as he vividly recalls gruesome details of the murders and his own initial passivity. Confronted with the capacity of i ndividuals for extraordinary violence, Hakim is at first stunned into action ustice take over. Although Hakim does not paint himself as a religious fundamentalist, a radical nationalist, or n (99).
78 Once Hakim has begun telling his story, it seems as though he is unable to stop its questions by Fatima and Ghafur are ignored. The story has seized him, an d forces its own complete and uninterrupted utterance. He candidly discusses how he killed men, with a knife, with a gun, and by hanging them while they begged him to spare their lives. His anger turns into a bloodlust, and he states, that his younger self mob that kills many of his companions while he escapes into Pakistan with a scar on his shoulder. This scar, Hakim c (101). Much more than a physical reminder, the scar symbolizes the psychic wounds of Partition. He to living with the pain of his memories and the responsibility of his own reprehensible actions. it is a part of you lah (101). The unearthing of this troubling story upends the notions of justice, fairness, and state while Sal urges them to understand them contextually. In partic history (and now his memories) are a part of his legacy to his grandchildren is rejected by them as it is a burden of blood memories and culpability. His actions contravene their beliefs of a fair justice system administere d by the state, and as such, the once beloved grandfather morphs into a
79 reprehensible monstrous figure with antiquated and anti modern notions of private justice. In hidden rather than exhumed. The story he narrates is particularly disorienting because it suggests the presence of monstrous tendencies that lie buried w ithin each individual. As a young man, Hakim was not particularly prone to violence, and even believed that the state extends its protective network to threatened citizens. Yet, he is inevitably changed and shaped by the violence around him until he intern alizes it. This fear of a monstrous subject hidden within oneself (the racialized subject) should be understood as a melancholic fear cultivated by a civil society and state institutions that see the social, racial, and cultural difference of marginalized citizens as a threat. What Ali shows in the within existing sy stems of power that are not invested in caring for racial minorities, and the ensuing need to see that difference sanitized, contained, excised, or killed. The Muslim who has been portrayed by civic society as a threat not only buries that difference withi n himself but also society (in the same manner that Hakim is immediately alienated by his grandchildren). Yet, Ali ences, that the Muslim subject has already been outcast from the nation state and should not fear losing his position further. I do want to note it normalizes t
80 violence directed at Ghafur pales in contrast to the violence that Hakim has admitted to committing. he raced melancholic subject must move away from feelings of shame. This shame is directed at the raced self, as the originator of an aberrant subjectivity, and it is also brought on by the complicity of the melancholic in the hegemonic project. In each of subject internalizes dominant ideologies around him and becomes complicit in his own denigration. Hakim internalizes the call to private violence, Salman accepts his poor treatment at his workplace, and Ghafur a cquiesces to rather than challenging his racial profiling. Shame is nd Torok suggest that while shame appears to be inherent to a melancholic subjectivity, it is timately reject that notion, and functions as the ego (131). Abraham and Toro melancholia specifically because it shifts the burden of shame from the raced subject to the nation state, whose bourgeois and racialized values constitute the ego ideal of the melancho lic. In other words, the melancholic secret that Salman strives to keep, and the shame he experiences, is actually that of the nation state. Both Salman and Hakim are living specters who haunt the modern nation state with evidence of its bloody beginning, and the many ways in which its ideals of equality and justice have been betrayed since its founding. Ranjana Khanna
81 put to rest (16). These specters insist on legibility in the public sphere and dredge up losses and histories that the nation state has marginalized or attempted to cover over. These specters take on the shame that the nation state should feel for its treatment of its minority citizens. This und erstanding is liberating for the melancholic subject. It allows Hakim, for instance, to give voice to his troubling past while still accepting his own culpability and responsibility. Crucially, by rejecting shame, Hakim rejects the inward turning tendency of the melancholic and instead shifts attention to the role and responsibility of the nation state to minority citizens. It is his story that finally prompts the family to discuss whether subaltern subjects can seek justice within systems that are not inve sted in their wellbeing. In this commentary on shame and melancholic specters, the play is in conversation with The Reluctant Fundamentalist which focuses on a melancholic Muslim who, having uncovered the predatory side of American transnational capitalism now works to advance the postcolonial Muslim nation. political context, and its disruptive effect on the family presents a third opportunity for the family to a the fantasy of assimilation. Salman insists that Ghafur carry on his own performance of the good Muslim without telling him about his own failures with that persona in the many years that he has lived in America. Hakim, on the other hand, speaks from the site of the wound, accepting its pain and responsibility. Part of thi s responsibility involves admitting his own failures to himself, and to his family. The presence of the scar is a reminder of a melancholic wound, one that resists
82 complete closure and erasure from the conscious so that the subject can make productive use of melancholic memories. possibilities of progressive intergenerational alliances for melancholic subjects. I noted in the introduction that Wajahat Ali only presents a nascent political subjectivity of melancholic citizenship in the play. The characters of the play are still working through the shift from that a critical facet of this emergent subjectivity is a rejection of the shame the raced subject experiences for failing to assimilate. The danger of the melancholic condition lies in a subject s to render the restrictive racial formations, and social ostracism on the racial subject, and buries the violence embedded in hierarchical racial categorizati on. ers is that you political context of India and Pakistan, his story is also a call to tell other family stories which have been suppressed because of feelings of shame, inadequacy, and loss. Hakim rejects the pressure to construct a sanitized family history and is an urging t o Salman and Khulsoom, to preserve their American stories and their experiences of loss, by telling them to their children.
83 Aside from the rejection of shame, intergenerational solidarities are also productive in that they help melancholic subjects resist the call to self mutilation. The raced subject might excise his Otherness, but his subjectivity will still be perceived as an excess that falls outside the protective ambit of state protection. Silence and complicity, moreover, do not protect the raced su state is finally shaken when he finally realizes that proper state channels for justice w ere not afforded to minority subjects. And it is this understanding that shakes Ghafur and Fatima who have held on to a belief in particular American systems (namely the educational and legal systems), despite its treatment of h unarticulated to his children, further indicates that the raced the nation state. It is through candid, communal, and intergenerational expression that mela ncholic subjects can finally gather to acknowledge that the fantasy of assimilation has failed them, and they need an alternative mode of belonging to the nation state. A second feature of the emergent political subjectivity rooted in melancholia then is a n acknowledgement that assimilation for minority subjects is premised on an erasure of Otherness, and is likely to be perpetually insufficient and incomplete. The Domestic Crusaders outlines these two features, a rejection of shame and of the politics of a ssimilation, on which melancholic citizenship is pre dicated. When I discuss The Buddha in the Attic and The Reluctant Fundamentalist later in this project, I build on these possibilities of melancholic citizenship, specifically in fostering interracial all iances and transnational imaginations respectively
84 CHAPTER 3 THE AFTERLIVES OF MELANCHOLIA: COLLECTIVE MEMORY AND JAPANESE AMERICAN ACTIVISM ON BEHALF OF MUSLIMS Bare Life and Melancholic Incorporation After 9/11, many Japanese Americans expressed outra ge about the private racism and racial state projects mobilized against Muslims. Kathy Masaoka, co chair of Nikkei for Civil very much that they [Muslims] are e xperiencing the same kind of discrimination and the Japanese American community when she suggests a connection between the alienation of Japanese Americans after W orld War II and Muslims after 9/11. Her dismay, when she says that the understanding that memories of institutionalized exclusion continue to haunt the Japanese Amer ican community, particularly when they are evoked by the mistreatment of other vulnerable racial subje cts (Stevens and Lin II). This C hapter reads Japanese American activism on behalf of Muslims as an articulation of interethnic solidarity between melancho lic subjects who share histories (both of the distant and near past) of racial oppression. In the first section of this C hapter, I examine the constitution of a Japanese American T he Buddha in the Attic. I argue that this collective memory operates melancholically as it carries lingering and unresolved racial wounds on the Japanese American psyche. These wounds refer to the material and symbolic losses that stem from encounters with judicial and social exclusion and continue to have an affective impact on Japanese Americans. In the Introduction, I noted that the lost object of melancholia references the idealized and unfulfilled immigrant desire for assimilation, as a means of findin g acceptance within the nation
85 melancholic loss specifically as the loss of relationality for the social self. By this I mean that the marginalized immigrant subject experiences a form of social death, having been cut off from forming enriching social relationships within the body politic of the nation state because of legal and social exclusion. The ensuing sense of isolation and dejection are deeply encoded in the collective memory of the Japanese Amer ican community. I trace this melancholic loss to the condition of inclusive exclusion by which Japanese immigrants were incorporated within the nation state. In my project, this condition of inclusive exclusion, which I develop from Agamben, refers to the acceptance of raced immigrants, including Muslims, on the normative Japanese American experience of racial violence is not defined solely by internment, th e large scale event of racial trauma, but also the daily and constant experiences with white supervisors, unjust state laws, and a civic society that largely alienated Japanese immigrants. I n the second part of this section I examine how this collective m emory of alienation allows Japanese American activists to transform racial melancholia, an internalized psychic condition, into collective political a ction. I study two amicus briefs filed by Japanese American activists in separate court cases challenging the detention of Muslims in Guantanamo Bay, and in New York. By presenting their melancholic testimony within juridico political systems, Japanese Americans outline the capacity of melancholic subjects to sustain interethnic solidarities. These solidariti es acknowledge shared histories and on going processes of racial oppression while bodies. In my analysis of these briefs, I examine how tropes of racial trauma as well as legal and social exclusion are deployed from the melancholic collective memory with an affective force to make a compelling case on behalf of detained Muslims. While support for Muslims was by no
86 means universal among the Japanese American communi ty, I focus particularly on the descendants of an earlier generation of Japanese American activists (like Fred Korematsu) who had challenged Japanese internment through law. This C hapter locates the sovereign state as a regulatory and coercive agent that p lays a critical role in shaping the racialized immigrant subjectivity. As such, the melancholic testimony of Japanese Americans in the realm of law holds the possibility of interrupting the state sanctioned project of Muslim detention. In Chapter 4 (on The September 11 Digital Archive), I focus on the impact of melancholic testimony on nationalist historiography, an ideological project of the nation, but here, I focus on the intervention of melancholic testimony in the terrain of juridico political systems in which the state exercises moral authority in a time of war. Japanese American activists work within the scope of their melancholic incorporation in the state to express solidarities with other vulnerable populations. To make these connections, I frame A for my project because he is interested in defining the conditions and projects of sovereignty, a power assumed by the modern state that grants it the capacity for violence. Agamben explains bare life as the co mingled and degraded fragment of zoe (biological life) and bios (the proper way of living). He argues that bare life is critical in the emergence of in the political realm constitutes the original if concealed and justifies its existence by exercising control over bare life. Agamben further states that bare life is incorporated into sovereignty through an inclusive exclusion: brought into the juridico political institutions of sovereign power, but denied the possibility of sovereignty, or access to its protective ambit (16). Thus, bare life is banished, in essence, within the state r ather than without
87 because the state justifies the use of its sovereign power around the production of bare life. In the post 9/11 context, this means that the racial state has expanded its legislative and coercive powers by constructing Muslims as a threa t to the civilizational values and even existence of the United States. In this condition of inclusive exclusion, Muslim subjects as a form of bare life example of bare life, I hope to show that the concept of bare life can be productively applied to situate the experience of raced immigrants. I frame the efforts of the racial state to incorporate Japanese immigrants on the principle of inclusive exclusion. This principle operates on a melancholic logic as it allows immigrants to enter the state but alienates them from the s ociality of the nation, thus foreclosing the possibility of full assimilation. The racial projects mobilized produce racial subjects with shorn social and politic al identities. In the latter half o f this C hapter, I frame detention camps, in particular, as a paradigmatic site in which the sovereign state manages bare life. In the camp, bare life is pushed outside the sociality of the nation and falls under the full coercive power of state and military institutions. Unlike the other part s of this project that focus on the melancholic testimony of Muslims, this chapter situates Japanese Americans as melancholic subjects and examines fictional and legal texts about the marginality of Japanese Americans in the early period of their immigration history. That Japanese Americans can be framed as melancholic subjects accords with Eng and mela ncholia. The diverse ethnicities that make up that group have had parallel experiences with
88 restrictive immigration laws, social alienation, and encounters with private racism. These shared histories of racial oppression ground interethnic alliances, and a re part of the reason for the constitution of a cohesive Asian American political identity. By focusing on Japanese American alli ances with Muslims, I trace one node of the potential alliances that can work to change dominant racial ideologies in the natio n state. I also focus on Japanese American texts, 9/11 literature. As scholars like Anker have noted, literature about 9/11 has infrequently dealt with alterity, and dabbled instead in cultural n 468). While works like The Reluctant Fundamentalist and The Domestic Crusaders which I address elsewhere in this project are important correctives in that they directly address the treatment of Muslims after 9/11, there have been fewer works still on interethnic and interracial alliances that can challenge racial state projects 1 post 9/11 literature should be expanded to inco rporate comparative works that illustrate the aftermath of 9/11 through another momentous historical event or moment. This aftermath runs from the specific treatment of a racialized group that was declared potentially un American to the broader conditions of national paranoia and trauma that affect the body politic. Comparative literature about 9/11 can bring about a needed shift from the insular focus of this literary category, and challenge the notion of 9/11 as an exceptional moment in the life of the na tion state 1 The Submission is one of these examples as the novel examines (partially so) white liberal support for Muslims after 9/11. Among post 9/11 novels that trace emergent solid arities between racialized Open City briefly touches on the intersecting lives of detained Muslims and the Nigerian German protagonist of the novel.
89 A Collective Memory of the Wounds of Racism novel, When the Emperor was Divine followed the experiences of a Japanese American family during World War II and through internment. Although the novel was finished in June 2001, its publication soon after 9/11 raised uncanny parallels between Japanese internment and Muslim detention 2 Her second novel, The Buddha in the Attic which was published in 2011, draws the connections between the two events more tightly when Otsuka cites a post 9/11 quotation by Donald Rumsfeld to allow a white character in her novel to justify Japanese internment. In forming these linkages between the treatment of Japanese Americans af ter World War II and Muslims after 9/11, Otsuka constructs the possibility for interethnic solidarities rooted in shared memories of racial oppression between melancholic subjects. Otsuka explained her intention in crafting such alliances in an interview publication, in which she called on Japanese Americans to reach out to Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. Japanese Americans, she believed had to accept the responsibility of d show Arab and Muslim Otsuka Interview). As I argue in the later this responsibility is not experienced as a burden. Rather, activism on behalf of Muslims becomes a way for Japanese Americans to deal w ith the return of their traumatic collective memories. For older Japanese Americans, the news of detention camps for Muslims after 9/11 Otsuka 2 n happen when the government starts compelled conversations about parallels between Japanese internment and Muslim detention, and brought Japan ese internment back to public attention (NEA Big Read Otsuka Interview). Just like Japanese internment, Muslims, Read Otsuka Interview).
90 Interview). The Buddha in the Attic traces how these memories were historically shaped and the experiences that remain encoded in them. The novel begins with the melancholic incorporation of the Japanese picture brides within the nation state in the early twentieth century; they are allowed to enter American borders but this entry is predicated on their interpellation as marginalized racial immigrants. Relying on the tradition of arranged marriage, the picture bridge practice allowed Japanese immigrants to satisfy restrictive and racist Amer ican immigration policies. Japanese men who had immigrated to the United States exchanged pictures and information with Japanese women, and once the two were married (with the husband in absentia), the women were allowed to legally enter the United States as their wives. The book then follows the picture brides, most of who worked on farms with their new husbands, through their lives in America: their sexual lives and marriages, the different kinds of labor they are expected to perform to support their fami lies, their struggles with linguistic and cultural differences, and their experiences of racism. Otsuka is particularly attentive to how the psychic costs of racism and social exclusion on the Japanese immigrants are recorded in the melancholic collective memory, even before the attack on Pearl Harbor exacerbates anti Japanese sentiment. In the latter part of the book, two of its seven chapters community leading up perspective of white residents who evade their ethnical responsibility to Japanese Ameri cans by framing internment as a mystery rather than an infringement on the rights and lives of th e Japanese. representation of Japanese American experiences of hardship, denigration, and racism. She
91 mostly uses the first person plural and the third person plural in th indicating the emergence of an ethnic group identity shaped against the registers of social and legal alienation. Names are used very rarely in the text, and as there is no consistency in the names, the reader cannot trace an individual life or narrative in the text. To show how Otsuka encodes racial trauma in collective, rather than individual, memory, I turn to the work of theorists like Maurice Halbwachs who have delineated the operations of collective memory. Collective memory encodes events of a shared past to give some coherence to group identity. Halbwachs notes that collective memory is critical in shaping the identity of individual members permits the recovery from historical memory in that it is living and organic, and gives group members a continuous tie state m ight decide that episodes like Japanese internment are resolved and belong to the past, these racial episodes continue to linger in the collective Japanese American memory and remain meaningful for Japanese Americans. Collective memory is important to my transference of racial trauma to generations that did not originally experience it. Collective between individuals and the collective so that successive generations of the group can shape the contours of its collective memory (7). This capacity for intergenerational tra nsfer frames collective memory within the ambit of melancholia as the melancholic subject also retains a hold on what has been lost. In this particular chapter, the lack which shapes melancholic group formation and becomes inscribed in the collective memo ry of that group for posterity is the loss
92 of social relationality to the broader national group. As I will show, the specific nature of this loss, and the intergenerational transfer of collecti ve memories constitutes the basis for Japanese Americans to ad vocate on behalf of Muslim detainees and give them the social support that was contents of this collective Japanese American memory to again make is accessible to me mbers of the ethnic group. Her novel, in other words, is driven by and drives the impulse to remember a tro ubling history which played a critical role in shaping the collective identity of the ethnic group. The opening of the novel marks the first displace ment from cultural and national belonging that is recorded in the collective memory as the picture brides have left Japan, the country of their birth. The arrival of the picture brides in America shows the extent of control that the sovereign state wields over the private lives and mobility of its racialized subjects. The yet unknown, each bride takes pride in her photographed husband, who is presented in bourgeois frame houses with whi as though they were ready to take immigrants as possessing material wealth, they also draw on the cultural power of American bourgeois status objects to make a good impression on the picture brides. In this construction of themselves as ac complished immigrants who have attained a better standard of living in their
93 new homeland, the men present a classic image of the American Dream. The lure of the American Dream, especially the opportunity for material success and class mobility, is reflect ed in the status symbols the men pose next to and wear on their bodies. When I discuss The Domestic Crusaders and The Reluctant Fundamentalist I note a similar ostentatious display of bourgeois symbolism on the part of Muslim immigrants who are in pursuit of the American Dream. In both cases (the Japanese and the Muslim immigrants), these bourgeois markers become material placeholders for social acceptance, and temporarily (or misleadingly) imply that the immigrants have achieved the American Dream. Yet, t his ideology of the American Dream which promises material success and cultural belonging to the raced immigrant operates on a melancholic logic of inclusive exclusion. The nation state draws immigrants with these promises but continuously holds them just out of reach. Lured to America by the hope for a better standard of living, the immigrants develop a libidinal 680). The photographs highlight this deeply held des ire, and cover up the failure of the raced immigrant to attain it. It was only upon arrival in America that the picture brides would discover that the men are posed by houses and cars that do not belong to them. The socio economic status constructed in the se images for Japanese men was one that was actually denied to them by systemic oppressio n that kept them in positions subordinate to white Americans. This gap between a promised ideal (of the American Dream) and the lived reality (of racial, social, and e conomic inequality) becomes the breeding ground for a melancholic subjectivity. The entrance allowed to the Japanese women into the nation state is predicated on this same melancholic logic of inclusive exclusion. Japanese women entered America as picture
94 Japan in 1907. The informal agreement was drawn up amidst the racial fears of the Yellow Peril in America, namely that rising levels of Asian immigration (first co ncerning Chinese immigration, and later to immigration from other Asian countries) were a threat to the livelihood of white American workers, to white women (because of the possibility of miscegenation), and ultimately needed to be curbed to preserve the e xisting racial hierarchy within the nation and the more Japanese to enter the country, unless they were the parents, wives, or children of Japanese Americans alr eady residing in the United States. As the sexuality of Japanese women, especially those alread y in America, was considered excessive and licentious in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, 3 married women were considered more desirable immigran ts because they were less likely to turn to prostitution. As married women, they were also brought into the bourgeois patriarchal norms of the American nation centrality of conjugal unions id further argues that by consenting to this normative arrangement, Japanese immigrants sought to demonstrate their respectability and assimilability to the American nation state (62). She w rites and subordinated social status (62). The arrival of the picture brides in America gestures then to the power the state exerts not only in the repressive control over Asian immigration but also in the private, especially sexual and reproductive, lives of Asian immigrants. 3 This perception of Japanese immigrant women as licentious stems from the linkage between Chinese women and conduit of disease and social dec women in Entry Denied
95 The acceptance of the Japanese immigrants on the condition of inclusive exclusion, implemented both in exclusionary laws and social alie nation, strongly posits racial melancholia as an expected outcome of the social and racial inequality that marks the entrance of the raced Asian Americans reveals (Eng and Han 680.) This leads them to raise a similar question about whether Asian American immigrants in America, as they too are brought into the nation state on the terms of inclusive exclusion. As I noted in the Introduction, Muslims and Arab immigrants have experienced a recurrent sense of tenuous national belonging, and their acceptance within the nation state has been contingent on their continuing performance of the model minority type. Arabs, in particular, have historically undergone several shifts in racial classification between white and non white; an attribution that directly impacted their ability to become American citizens. In The Domestic Crusaders Wajahat Ali grapples with the question that Eng and Han raise when he shows Salman, a first ge neration immigrant struggling to make a place for himself since he first arrived in the country. After 9/11, national ties are weakened further as the nation state reactivated racial formations of terror and highlighted the contingent status of Muslim immi grants who are incorporated on the melancholic condition of inclusive exclusion. This weakened capacity to exercise citizenship rights (or to achieve legal citizenship at all) affected Japanese immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century, and haunts Mu slims today.
96 While I am hesitant to offer the totalizing and never ending condition of racial melancholia 4 ideologies that the state impresses on Asian American bodies and lives cannot be re negotiated so easily. From the very moment of their entrance into the scope of the sovereign state, racial immigrants (both Japanese Americans and Muslim Americans) are produced as subordinate subjects in the racial hierarchy, as political sub jects, and in the economic workforce. When geopolitical tensions brought about by events like the attack on Pearl Harbor or 9/11 trigger racial anxieties, the raced immigrants find themselves further alienated from civil society. That the Japanese immigran ts enter on the terms of the racial state is also indicated in the title of which subjects are constituted. As Althusser writes, when a police officer in public calls out a juridico political order (Althusser 174). This subject position necessarily implies that the subject is subordinated, in fact, subordinates hi mself, to hegemony. Similarly, when the picture brides respond to the hail of the nation of its sovereign power. The loud invitation is not as innocuous as it appears, and anticipates that difficult to shift even when the immigrants have become American citizens. This invitation can also be interpr political and coercive 4 In the last chapter of this project on The Reluctant Fundamentalist I trace the capacity of the racial subject to interrupt the process of melancholic incorporation and overcome the desire to assimilate. While a certain melancholi c out look defines the Pakistani protagonist of this novel views the world I argue that it is possible to overcome melancholia.
97 institutions, by which the Japanese Americans are subordinated into a racialized political economy and will be eventually ordered into internment camps. Although the women are yet unf amiliar with the racial meanings ascribed to their new subject position, they soon discover the gap between the life promised by their husbands in the pictures and their lived reality upon arrival. al exclusion to tracing the social exclusion of the women and their families from white American society. The vulnerability and isolation that accompanies this alienation from society is deeply imprinted in the melancholic collective memory, and marks one of the wounds of racism on the immigrant psyche. While the women initially hold high expectations of social decorum, bountiful natural resources, and labor force participation on their terms, it soon becomes clear that the social possibilities afforded to them are severely restricted due to their raced and gendered identity in America. The opening lines when they would let us. And when they would not Do not let sundown f ind you in this county, their signs sometimes said by the physical locations in which they are allowed to settle and the restrictions on their mobility s work attends especially closely to the cumulative and daily experiences within racist systems that produce melancholic racial formations. The women also realize that contrary to their expectations, they are expected to perform economic and gendered labor to survive. Otsuka writes of how the women and their families The women picked strawberries, dug up potatoes, sorted green beans, sacked onions, crated berrie s, and in general took up whatever farm work was made available to the Japanese
98 American workers during each season. The work is difficult, and Otsuka interjects to speak for our h ands blistered undesirability of the Japanese immigrants, they are allowed in the country because of this physical labor they can perform for its citizens. Ronald Takaki comments on the incorporation of a transnational and racial labor force to meet the demands of production in the United States. He notes that this labor force depended on this group within the boundaries of the nation state was premised on their liminal status, not citizens, but permitted to stay as long as their labor and bodies were valued in the processes of strong backs and nimble hands. Our stam the best breed labor force is reduced not just to a collection of physical and biological aspects, but also placed outside comparisons to livestock, controlled and managed by the white farm owners for their own profits. By allowing Japanese women to enter the country in a heteronormative reproductive union, the state ensures a stable and reproducing workforce for itself. the bios and the management of zoe by a sovereign power. As Agamben argues, drawing on Maurice Bl anchot, the sovereign power is invested in the production of bare life to continue its
99 hat an exception has suspending itself, gives rise to the exception and, maintaining itself in relation to the exception, The exception too falls under the sovereign Agreement suspended restrictive immigration quotas and allowed married Japanese women to enter the United States. This len iency did not imply that attitudes about the Yellow Peril had existing racial ideologies: they assuage fears of miscegenation between Japanese men and white women, and they are interpellated as uncivilized, inferior and docile but physically capable of investment in the biological life of Japanese American workers when they re fer to them in animalistic terms: by talking about a Japanese breed, boasting about how little food they require, and housing them, like livestock, in barns, tents, and shabby housing that would be unfit for wh ite (and by extension, human) habitation (Otsu ka 29). These troubling events of subordination, denigration, and racial violence pass into the collective, while well suited to represent the experiences of the broader ethnic group also appears to an ironic choice given that the Japanese Americans were treated as a homogenous group in the racialized Orientalist imaginary of that time. As Volpp has also noted, the treatment of the Japanese Americans relied on a belief on their fungibility, that one group member was interchangeable with another (Volpp 1591). Writing about fungibility as a defining logic of
100 racially defined communit y was considered to make it impossible to screen individually loyal nted to members of privileged racial groups. In the post 9/11 moment, fungibility undergirded state policies that legitimized the racial profiling of Muslims. Policies such as mandatory interviews and registration for Muslims as well as Muslim detentions relied on the logic that the state could not accurately discern innocent Muslims because all Muslims were potentially suspicious. Their loyalties were suspect because they were believed to hold stronger ties to their country of origin. This same homogeniza tion and fungibility, and the resultant inability to distinguish between group members, played a key role in justifying Japanese internment. It was widely believed that Japanese American immigrants acted as a bloc, in unison, and with individual members ac ting in the interest of the greater collective. It was also widely believed that Japanese Americans still held loyalties to the Ja panese E mpire, and they would choose to support Japan in the event of a war between the two nations. Otsuka acknowledges this were an unbeatable, unstoppable economic machine and if our progress was not checked the kind of rac ist propaganda was commonly used in public discourse leading up to internment, and explained the racial ideology behind the internment of an entire ethnic group, rather than collective voice should be understood not only as ironic, but also strategic. The collective voice enables
101 Otsuka to express that xenophobia and racism affected a large number of Japanese Americans, and raises the hope that a collective voice, amplified a nd resonant, might be heard where an individual voice might be silenced or overcome. The collective voice enfolds and binds the women together, giving them a solidarity and togetherness that they yearned for during the long years of social isolation. The immigrant women are warned by their husbands to not pursue social relationships beyond their marital and ethnic ties. In reference to interactions with white society, the first piece expects the women to take appropriate measures so that their racial and cultural difference is not seen as an encroachment upon or threa belong to th sometimes even ceding their agency to suit white American interests. Assimilation, as espoused in these lines, implies that Japanese Americans must aspire not to the privi leges of whiteness, but to accepting the racial ideologies that privilege whiteness, and devalue other minorities. By practicing assimilation, the women sacrifice self interest and dignity in order to make themselves palatable for white society. The women are rendered invisible twice over, as women and as Japanese, in a racial hegemony that did not grant them the personhood and humanity that preconditions visibility and voice in civil society. The women, and Japanese American immigrants in general, occupie d a simultaneous position of marginality and hypervisibility. As a marginalized group, their concerns were invisible to dominant society. But racial fears about the
102 Other within legitimized their surveillance by the state and its citizens. Discussions of t he Yellow Peril were recurrent in public discourse, and kept public attention on the Japanese American immigrants. Thus, the immigrants are invisible as political agents, but they are hypervisible as racialized subjects. Muslims after 9/11 would experience a similar shift from invisibility to hypervisibility. Naber comments on this transformation when she notes that Arabs and Muslims were suddenly brought under immense public scrutiny after 9/11, and their hypervisibility occurred on the terms of the reduct ive rhetoric adopted by the Bush administration and corporate media (Naber 3). This rhetoric, as I have noted in the Introduction, produced Muslims as subjects under surveillance for potentially anti American tendencies. ower structural inequalities which affect the marginalized group will be transformed. Instead, the kind of hypervisibility that spotlighted Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor and Muslims and Arab Americans after 9/11, serves to further isolate and marginalize the vulnerable ethnic group. In her representation of these Japanese American assimilation strategies, Otsuka delineates social practices for survival adopted by the immigrants in a f raught racial landscape. These strategies are ultimately harmful to the psychic wellbeing of the racial subject, and the ensuing loss of a social self, of a person with desires and needs, forms another wound of racism inscribed in the melancholic collectiv e memory. Even before delving into internment, Otsuka writes poignantly of the deep dejection and loneliness that marks the melancholic Japanese The pressures of unremitting labor to eke out a living and survival in a racist society extract a
103 heavy mental toll. Self care is abandoned, and those activities that the women took pleasure in are sacrificed in the struggle to survive. The desires are subordinated in this racial economy because they lack the full subjectivity afforded to white Americans. This representation of dejection, as an outcome of melancholia, differs from how I have int erpreted the melancholic condition in other parts of my project. In particular, Wajahat Ali in his play, The Domestic Crusaders expresses anger and shame as affective hallmarks of the melancholic condition In my analysis of that play I traced how the Pa kistani American immigrant experiences feelings of anger and shame that stem from his performance as a model minority. This performance requires him to accept the persistent denigration of his identity, and when he confronts the failure of his assimilative endeavors, his shame erupts as anger misdirected at his own family instead of the social and political conditions that compelled assimilation. Otsuka instead traces the bleakness and hopelessness that emerges when the racial subject is denied sociality an d loses interest in living a fulfilling life. coldness inside us that still has not thawed. I fear my soul has died women went about their daily routine, cooking cleaning, chopping wood, the person performing (37). Rendered invisible in civil and political society, the women appear to retreat further in to themselves, and their dejection and isolation manifests as a coldness of the spirit. Here Otsuka also suggests that the immigrant women are alienated even from their husbands who frequently fail to grasp the depth of their suffering. Facing the pressure s of assimilation and the psychic wounds of racism, the women experience a social death, stripped of their desires, interests, and needs, and reduced to the basic motions of survival. The subject who emerges in this racial order,
104 numb, isolated, and transf ormed, is unrecognizable to herself. Freud describes this social death love herself, because her social self has been denigrated in the existing racial order, I also believe that the melancholic retains the capacity for empathy for others who are marginalized like her It is empathy that drives Japanese Americans to articulate interethnic solidarities with detained Muslims after 9/11. The legal and social exclusion of Japanese Americans is exacerbated after the attack on Pearl H arbor. In the national paranoia after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Otsuka writes from the white communities they live in, their interactions grow more ten se after newspapers drum up stories about the pro Japanese allegiance of the Japanese Americans. These stories stoked fears that the Japanese Americans were disloyal to the United States, and were waiting to attack from within when commanded by Japan. While Otsuka does not directly make t his connection, a similar national paranoia gripped the nation after 9/11. Damaging news stories ab out Muslims celebrating the attacks were disseminated before they were shown to be false or unverifiable, and further swayed public opinion against Muslims. One particular story, about Muslims in New Jersey celebrating as the
105 World Trade Center collapsed h as been remarkably resistant, despite having been repeatedly proven false. 5 The impact of such news reports in conjunction with racial state projects cannot be underestimated. In the aftermath of 9/11, the notion that Muslims supported the attacks in some manner remains entrenched in the American public. For instance, a Pew study undertaken in ns believe the same (Pew 1). This discrepancy in beliefs can be attributed to continuing racial anxieties about the presence and loyalties of Muslim Americans. These persistent attitudes spark acts of private racism against the affected groups (in the case of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor as well In response to the incendiary stories disseminated about them after Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans set out to destr oy anything that might be construed as evidence of ties to Japan, and disloyalty to America. Some burned family photos and correspondence with their parents in Japan, others burned chopsticks, family altars, and wedding kimonos (86). Convinced by social pr mark their ties to the communities of their birth. In the unequal racial hierarchy, it is the Japanese Americans who must accommodate and pacify the racialized fears of the he gemonic class. They do so by removing markers of their excessive cultural and racial difference, and establishing their tractability. A similar pressure to curb their racial difference was exerte d on Muslims after 9/11. In C hapter 4 on The September 11 Dig ital Archive, I outline how Muslims and Arabs 5 emphatically stated in an
106 sought to define themselves as American citizens first in order to be legible as victims of racial violence. The melancholic faces an ever widening gap between on going efforts to assimilate and the expectatio ns placed on racial immigrants who have been defined as enemies of the nation state. Otsuka shows that the Japanese American community implicitly understands that the turn from exclusion to acceptance cannot be negotiated solely by their practices of assim ilation; broader systemic changes are required for that change to occur. The men ask, for instance, about eir fields too unkempt?...Or was their guilty? Did i all these questions are in the affirmative (91). The guilt of the Japanese American community is defined by their association with Japan, no matter how distant that assoc iation. Thus, while they may burn their belongings, and adopt the mannerisms that make them appear safer to white society, their faces will still remain the same, and evoke the same racialized fears of the ethnic Other. As long as they wear the same faces, their efforts at assimilation will always fail. Cultural and racial markers of Japanese ancestry are sufficient to mark Japanese Americans as enemies of the state. Having delineated the attempts of the Japanese Americans to assimilate, even by radically c utting off their historical and cultural roots, Otsuka writes of Japanese internment as a failure of assimilation that the melancholic subject must confront. Performing the role of the model minority and demonstrating that they are good immigrants is insuf ficient to protect the
107 marginalized subject from racial state projects and the censure of civil society. The sweeping racial dragnet cast by the state ensnares all Japanese Americans, even the ones that crafted respectable personas, made themselves appear less threatening, and accepted the normative terms of the nation state. By writing of internment after she has established the assimilative strategies adopted by Japanese America, Otsuka makes a strong case for melancholic racial subjects to abandon their investment in racial and social norms that only advance their alienation. The order for internment would be backed by the legal and coercive authority of the state and it would have wide social support. In the week leading up to internment, the Japanese Am erican women still of this large scale racial project, the initia l numbness of melancholia gives way to a frantic and desperate energy that drives the women to look for social support when they are unable to turn to the restitutive justice offered by the state. But normative subjects of the state deny empathy to the mar ginalized immigrants, and the Japanese Americans community finds itself isolated in its suffering. Thus, at the moment of their forced departure, their ostracization from the social order is complete. As they leave, white society merely looks on at the s Americans are not even out of sight before they see and hear looters breaking into the homes they have been forced out of. The sound s of curtains being ripped, glass shattering, and wedding dishes being smashed stands in for their turmoil and loss. And yet, on this traumatic day, they humme
108 naturalized moment in the racial order. It is the logical conclusion to the inclusive exclusion of the Japanese Americans on the terms of the racial state. The devalue d political and social identities of those who are interned represents the attempts of the state to deconstruct the bios, and produce the hollowed out bare life. Within the space of the camp, the ideal space within which the sovereign state produces and ma nages bare life, the racial subject is banished within the territorial borders of the state (Agamben 168). In this paradigmatic moment of social and legal exclusion, Otsuka suggests that melancholic subjects can only turn to each other for social support. Marginalized and ostracized by the larger national community, the members of the ethnic community are drawn closer together. As the community recognizes the concerted action and sentiment directed against all its our [emph asis mine] most prominent berry growers was our [emphasis mine] numbers our [emphasis mine] men had been removed from a small town of lett text shows a solidarity based on shared experience of racism. It is the ethnic collectivity and its collective memory that records and mourns the material and symbolic losses sustained by the individual members of the community. What happens to one person now affects the entire ethnic community. homes, and in this absence of internment in the novel, she ensh rines a curious historical amnesia about what happens inside the confines of the camp. While she has addressed the specific conditions of Japanese internment in her other novel, When the Emperor was Divine I suggest that the absence of this event in this novel is deliberate and she chooses to focus instead on racial
109 trauma that stems from daily and accumulative experiences of racism. For the picture brides in state, the social and racial imaginary of the nation and by the authority of the state. Otsuka challenges the notion that racial trauma originates from monumental events like internment by drawing out the psychic costs of living in a hegemonic system that privileges whiteness. The cumulative effect of legal and social exclusion on the melancholic subject manifests as dejection even before the racial project of internment is mob ilized. responsibility of normative subjects who have the have the power (by dint of their privileged racial position) to challenge the racial state. Here Otsuka sho ws how white communities become internment, they give the incarceration of an ethnic group a more benign dimension by claiming ). The framing of the sentence removes the agent, the state, which forced internment, and implies that what has happened to the Japanese is a curiosity and mystery to the white communities. A dangerous amnesia begins to set into the community immediately. Even before the Instructions to All Persons of Japanese Ancestry posters are blown (117). Otsuka suggests here that there is a deliberate lack of care in these white communities for Japanese Americans. The Instructions were not pertinent to anyone of European ancestry, and they are easily erased from public memory. The questions eventually raised by community members about the disappearance of Japanese Americans feign innocence on the part of the
110 community and only serve to highlight their initial disinterest in supporting the marginalized ethnic group: Did the Japanese go to the reception centers voluntarily, or under duress? What is their ultimate destination? Why were we not informed of their departure in advance? Who, if anyone, will intervene on their behalf? Are they innocent? Are they guilty? Are they even really gone? Because isn't it odd that no one we know actually saw them leave? (124) Despite these qu estions, the white communities refuse to investigate where the Japanese have disappeared to. Eventually, however, as the war goes on and the seasons pass, the amnesia gives way to a more willful forgetting. New migrants move into the empty homes left by th e attempts made to affix the Japanese American experience i n the broa der national memory. The collective national memory, which too reflects the interests of the greatest number of community members, is shaped by racial ideologies of the dominant social class. Holding onto a fiction of normality, the white communities belie removed from their homes and erased from the memories of the white communities, the Japanese are rendered ghostly, firmly implicates these white communities in their failure to advocate on behalf of subaltern s critique in this section is meant to raise questions about the responsibility of citizens, especially those with power in a hegemonic system, in challenging racial injustice in the nation state. It is in this final section that Otsuka cites Donald Rumsf eld to show the callousness that
111 text form a connection between two marginalized melancholic groups (Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor and Muslims after 9/11) across historically specific events, and show a remarkable continuity in the racial projects that the state mobilizes against its marginalized populations. happ ened to the Japanese: The Japanese have left us willingly, we are told, and without rancor, per the part of the battlefront now, and whatever must be done to defend the countr y must be done. "There will be some things that people will see," he tells us. "And there will be some things that people won't see. These things happen. And life goes on" (129). artment of Defense briefing he held in October 2001 at the end of the first week of airstrikes in Afghanistan targeting al Qaeda and Taliban military targets (DOD News Briefing Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers). The quotation here exemplifies the kind o f evasive and often inane language that Rumsfeld used in these briefings. In this case, Rumsfeld had been pressed by reporters to explain whether the U.S. was planning to bomb targets on Muslim holy days, and whether the U.S. already had a set of preplanne d targets. While the exact meaning of his words is unclear, his overall goal seems to be to evade describing U.S. strategy and future plans in bombing Afghanistan. argument about how the sovereign power uses the state of exception to reestablish its normative ideologies and extend the scope of its regulatory powers over marginalized populations. e law in its very within itself (State of Exception 59). The modern state has turned this temporary moment into a
112 general state of existence under the artifice o f national security and the threat of racial Others. of this rhetoric of the state of exception: the transnational context of the War on Terror in Afghanistan the detention of Muslims on the continental United States and in Guantanamo Bay, and in the historical event of Japanese internment. The historical sweep from Japanese internment to Muslim detention indicates not moments of exception, but a continuous st ate of exception as the state hones and deploys racial projects and ideologies finessed over decades. particularly sinister implications. The graveness of internment is underp ch the white communities asked if the Japanese were really visual capability, but a deliberate blindness and the refusal to acknowledge a racial injustice. Without the voice or counter memory of the Japanese Americans to rebut these assertions, the state is able to shape public opinion as it chooses about their treatment. Rumsfeld is commenting not only on those issues which are out of sight, but also those which people refuse to see. The white communities did see the Japanese Americans leaving, and even participated in their Othering before internment. A willful forgetting of this participation in hegemony allows them to dissociate themselves from a racist project that the state had claimed to undertake on their behalf, to protect them By breaking Rumsfeld out of his proper time and allowing his words to justify a past event, Otsuka disrupts the linear temporality of the nation. In the narrative of a linear,
113 progressiv e time, the nation state is said to continuously become more multicultural, more accepting of non normative difference, and more willing to protect the rights of marginalized citizens. Palumbo Liu observes that this characterization, particularly as it app lied to the American nation state has existed for a long time. America in the early twentieth century, he through its democratic capitalism and its ability to abs orb migrant populations (Palumbo Liu 20). between the systemic oppression of Japanese Americans during World War II and Muslims after 9/11. This connection is sust ained by the Japanese American collective memory that keeps alive when she addresses the psychic state of the Japanese American women after their long yea rs of condition that has become the present lived reality f or the women. The melancholic condition is characterized by the inability of th e subject to move past loss: in this case, the wounds of racism have an extended affective force that the melancholic cannot deny. The experiences of legal and social exclusion and the attendant feelings of isolation, dejection and vulnerability continue to be held in the melancholic collectivity. As a part of the melancholic collective psyche, these wounds are intergenerational because future generations grapple with those memor ies which are relevant to their own lives as members of the ethnic group, and add their own autobiographical memories to the collective memory. Collective memory thrives on intergenerational transfer, 6 and this function is 6 from the pas t only what still lives or is capable of living in the consciousness of the groups keeping the memory
114 intensified when the collective m emory holds a record of melancholic losses incurred by the racialized subject. Sharing and shifting a personal and autobiographical memory of racial encounters into a collective memory becomes a form of coping, of recuperating from melancholic losses, for the racialized subject. I am interested, in particular, in how this melancholic collective memory can become the basis of political and legal activisms Melancholic Testimony and Political Action As melancholia is a psychic condition, the melancholic has a tendency to turn inward, to grapple with feelings of loss on an individual and psychic. David Palumbo Liu writes of this personal, suggesting all the while that the fractured Asian American subject can heal from the Liu 400, 405). Palumbo Liu is writing specifically about this privatizing tendency in the context of model minority discourse, but his concerns are relevant to the melancholic condition as well. The greater potential for melancholic citizenship lies when the negotiation of collective memories of racial injustice takes into account institutionalized racism, raci al politics, and economic melancholia, Cheng is hesitant to trac e this transformation, arguing that the discourse of emphasis mine an active act in which each member of the group participates and contributes.
115 In this section I suggest that though the expression of grievance enables the melanch olic subject to grapple with racial grief in a manner that resists the privatizing tendency of melancholia. In the case of Japanese American activism on behalf of Muslims after 9/11, melancholic testimony within juridico political systems allows Japanese A mericans to rearticulate the racial trauma of internment and hinders the nation state from erasing the painful memory from mainstream history. The discourse of grievance in the legal briefs I study here does not activate the cycles of blame and self denigr ation that Cheng warns about. Rather, it bears a forceful imprint of racial trauma that brings an urgency and pathos sometimes abstracted in legal discourse. In drawing out this racial trauma rooted in the collective Japanese American memory, I outline the capacity of melancholic subjects to sustain interethnic solidarities. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration pursued racial projects that produced Muslims as potential terrorists and justified their racial profiling, detenti on, and suspension of legal rights. Among these, The USA Patriot Act, passed in October involvement in terrorism (ACLU Anti Terrorism Bill Permits Indefinite Detention). 7 Dale Minami, a lawyer who worked on the Korematsu Coram Nobis case, was critical of the sweeping powers that the Patriot Act gives to the government and like many other Ja panese Americans, he compared it to Order 9066 authorizing internment similarly granted expanded powers to state institutions to 7 The passage of the PATRIOT Act and the ensuing detentions attests to the state of exception defined by Agamben. The lengthy law was rushed in its passage, and granted the government sweeping legislative authority that has transcended its initial moment of crisis. Its persisting existence 16 years after 9/11, suggests, as Agamben argued, that the modern state has normalized the state of exception as a de facto condition of bare life.
116 addressing how the act could lead to an erosion of civil rights for racial subjects who have been defined as e nemies through racial profiling. The detentions allowed by this act can be divided into two categories based on location, in the continental United States or in Guantanamo Bay. The most immediate detentions after 9/11 were in the continental United States as more than 1200 citizens and aliens, most of whom came from countries with substantial Muslim populations, were detained within two months of the attack. (Department of Justice Report on The September 11 Detainees 1). 8 In several cases, the cause for arr est and subsequent detention was flimsy and occurred after neighbors or other private individuals reported an individual for suspicious behavior. One Middle Eastern non resident alien was arrested because he appeared anxious to purchase a car, but did not pick up the car on the agreed upon date despite putting down a deposit, and he was detained for 8 months before being released (42). Such incidents were made possible because the state had recruited private citizens into the surveillance of Muslims. By art iculating a logic of racial profiling in detaining only Muslims, the state instructed normative American citizens on how to identify the potential terrorist by inscribing racial meanings and markers onto Muslim bodies. Terrorist suspects are identified as Muslims by their religious practices, country of origin, skin color, language, clothing, food habits, and other racialized markers of Muslim identity. the Guantanamo Ba y detention facility in Cuba was worse than that of detainees held on the 8 While there may have been more det entions, the Department of Justice Report observes that cumulative numbers
117 continental U.S. The facility, which has existed since 1903, has been used to hold over 700 detainees captured mostly in Afghanistan after 9/11. There was a marked lack of due proces s as detainees were not allowed to access the classified evidence which was used to demonstrate their guilt, and in allowing the detainee to present evidence to support his case. Detainees were presumed guilty merely by their presence in Guantanamo. 9 Numer ous reports over the years have faulted the arbitrary and indefinite detentions here, and drawn attention to the torture, human rights violations, and extra legal practices that detainees have experienced. Over the years, over 650 detainees have been relea sed, and 41 now remain in detention. The provision of indefinite detention outlined for these terrorism suspects is harsh, and grounded in perceptions of Muslim subjectivity. The narrative of the bad Muslim, which I have outlined in the Introduction and Chapter 2 on The Domestic Crusaders frames Muslims as potential terrorists, in other words, as subjects capable of irrational violence. Muslim subjectivity is located as monstrous and inhuman, and hence, the state and its normative subjects are not obliga ted to treat Muslim subjects fairly. Muslims are positioned outside the realm of citizenship, civil liberties, and human rights. Leti Volpp explains this as a citizenship premised on exclusion, direct import on their mistreatment during detention. The treatment of Japanese Americans as enemy aliens relied on a similar con struction of their inhuman subjectivity. In the months leading 9 A series of reports on Guantanamo Bay by Seton Hall faculty and students concluded by noting that t he lack of due process and confidence in the military tribunal system ensured that no one could effectively identify who should be detained and who should be released (20).
118 (A nderson). 10 The Japanese American melancholic and collective memory of racial wounds highlights these continuities in systemic oppression, while tracing their lingering effects on Japanese Americans too. That such linkages can be made between the legal and ideological conditions that enabled Japanese internment and Muslim detentions suggests that the racial state continues to be ambivalent about the presence of Japanese Americans and Muslims within the nation. While the specific racial projects that are mobi lized against Japanese Americans and Muslims are different, and should be contextually interpreted, there is a remarkable continuity in For many Japanese Americans, news abo ut the troubling treatment of Muslims after 9/11 and their detention evoked traumatic memories of internment that had been put to rest. Yet, it is and aga study below, expresses his frustration about the reopening of these wounds of racism. In a to see reopened for serious debate the question of whether the government was justified in imprisoning Japanese SF Gate.) Fred Korematsu was one of the prominent figures who protested interment, even at the cost of incarceration, and later participated in the redress campaign to compel the state to acknowledge that internment invoked an unjust racial profiling of Japanese Americans. Like other outraged Japanese Americans, Korematsu wonders whether the nation has forgotten the unjust and unfair treatment of Japanese 10 As I showed earlier Otsuka also comments on this construction of Japanese Americ ans as enemy aliens in popular discourse. The Japanese Americans in her novel are shocked to read inflammatory articles that the Japanese knew vast underground army of the Japanese empire (Otsuka 86).
119 Americans during World War II. His statement also indicates the affective impact of Muslim detentions on the Japanese American community. Although public and state attention remains focused on Muslims, as targets of suspicion, Japanese Americans also experienced a vulnerability brought about by the return of traumatic memories. the melancholic collective memory might hol d onto loss and allow for its renegotiation in the present, this process reopens the subject to a sense of being wounded. Thus, Japanese Americans are now brought into another confrontation with those experiences of alienation and denigration that defined their lives during World War II. This reopening of racial wounds also means an encounter with the material and symbolic losses sustained during internment, and renewed questions about the position they hold in the American racial order. Yet, as the amicus briefs show, Japanese Americans adopt a politics of vulnerability grounded in their melancholic might be transformed into an ethical relationship with marginalized subjects (Butler 30). The amicus brief that Korematsu writes on behalf of Muslim detainees draws on his traumatic experiences as an internee, and constitutes a form of interracial melancholic solidarity follow internment orders and he was imprisoned, first at Tanforan and later at Topaz, both internment camps. Internmen Encyclopedia of Japanese American Internment). By framing the Japanese American experience as incarceration, Korematsu suggests that internment acts a s a euphemistic term to underemphasize the truth of the camps. The interned subjects were
120 placed in inhospitable locations, not allowed to leave, lived in shabby housing, and ate poorly. The living conditions at Tanforan appalled him, and he agreed to act as the plaintiff in the landmark Korematsu v. United States lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Japanese internment. The Supreme Court would eventually rule in favor of the state, with the majority opinion arguing that internment was not the resul t of racial fears or premised on racial profiling. 11 (2002), Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004), 12 and Odah v. United States (2007), with each case examining whether the detainees, who h ad been labelled as enemy combatants, had the right to critical part of the case paperwork, particularly for the Hamdi and Rasul cases which were filed in the early years after 9/11 when the American public and the international community did not have access to a lot of information about what was happening in Guantanamo. 13 actions in support of these detainees is particularly significant as they had been categorized as enemies of the nation state in a time of war, and subsequent to a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The 11 The court decided that internment was a justifiable action of national security made during a time of war by the appropriate power of Congress and military authorities (Korematsu v. United States) This decision affirmed the earlier result of the Hirabayashi v. United States (1943) and Yasui v. United States (1943) lawsuits that had also 12 The Hamdi v. Ru msfeld illustrates some of the legal difficulties and ethical issues posed by Guantanamo and the need for legal intervention on behalf of the detainees. The plaintiff, Hamdi, was a U.S. citizen who was captured in purportedly working there as an aid worker. The Supreme Court decision on the Hamdi v. Rumsfeld case was a mixed one: on the one hand, the court ruled that the government did have the right to detain enemy combatants, even U.S. citizens, during a time of w ar, and on the other hand, it also confirmed that the detainees had the right to challenge their detention in a neutral court of law. Following the ruling in 2004, Hamdi was eventually released as it became apparent that the government did not have suffici ent proof to establish his guilt, and that he had been detained without due cause. 13 As the Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed over 150 detainee cases, observes, by the time Odah v. United early days of Rasul, over 20 amicus briefs supporting the Odah).
121 14 Qaeda or Taliban, who had been captured in an active battlefield or for engaging in armed conflict against the United States. The term was also, however, a smokescreen to prevent the under the Geneva Convention. The same jingoistic nationalism of the post 9/11 moment which enabled the creation of this ethically dubious term also made it difficult to question how this term had been defined, and the consequences of its use. ence and personhood are particularly resonant here when she there already sug gested that their lives were worth less. Korematsu and the broader array of lawyers and activists who were working with the Guantanamo detainees risked accusations of working with the enemy and hampering U.S. efforts to apprehend threats to the nation stat e. This debate about the Guantanamo detainees continues today, even after most of the detainees have been released. Even though Korematsu and the lawyers involved in these three cases were not laying out an argument about the innocence of the detainees (ra ther, they were interested in the detainees being given basic legal and human rights), the cases were sharp critiques of Bush administration policies on the War on Terror. the brief to his legal history and experiences during Japanese internment. Like Salman (in The 14 The Combatant Status Review Tribunals, a military tribunal for Guantanamo detainees officially defined an enemy combatant as an individual who was part of or supporting Taliban or al Qaeda forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. This includes any person who has committed belligerent act or has directly
122 Domestic Crusaders ), Korematsu is a subaltern living archive who maintains memories of racial violence that he chooses to dredge up when the nation appears to be developing a historical amnesia about internment By stating both, that he was imprisoned after the Korematsu v. United States ruling in 1944, and that he was eventually awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in threat to the American nation state would later be celebrated for upholding American values. This shifting i Although Japanese Americans are still racialized subjects in the social imaginary, the state no longer perceives them as enemies of the state. This rehabilitation, again, tak es place on the terms of the nation state and can be used by the state to demonstrate its commitment to racial justice. Thus, the state can concomitantly pursue projects that consolidate racial hierarchies while articulating a vision of democratic progress constantly under pressure and all too easily buried under the urgent rhetoric of national security and jingois m in the post 9/11 period. In the section on Japanese internment in the brief, Korematsu is particularly evocative swept deserts children were placed in overcrowded frames internment as an imprisonment, and the Japanese as prisoners of the state and exposed to the possibility of violence. Yet, these are prisoners who were incarcerated without due process, and without any formal charges of treason. The affective language used here suggests that these
123 facets of internment continue to have an emotional resonance for Japanese internees and their des is also telling because it attests to their stripped down agency an d subjectivity. Their identity, reduced to gendered and biological distinctions, marks their production as bare life within the confines of the camp. Korematsu notes the absolute uncertainty experienced by the interned Japanese and Japanese Americans in t these individuals [interned Japanese], there were no hearings; they did not know where they were going, how long they would be detained, what conditions they would face, or what fate woul d going prevented them from preparing for their life in the internment camp. The convenience of the Japanese was not a motivating concern for the state. Otsuka also comments on the uncertainty and sense of hopelessness that affects the Japanese once they start hearing about out and bought padlocks and medicine kits (100). The ever changing rumors unsettle some of the r, keeping concerned friends know about their whereabouts, or leave a forwarding address to stay in touch
124 with the broader social body of the nation. The state c ould further control the flow of information in and out of the camp. In this memory of internment, Korematsu outlines the vulnerability of the interned subject who is left to the vagaries of the state. In internment, the Japanese Americans were deprived of material comforts, and the sociality and acceptance of the nation. The nerve wracking instability of their new lives and the inhospitable conditions of the camps makes it impossible for them to make fulfilling and productive lives as citizens. The uncanny repetition of occurs because this is one of the tropes about internment that have passed into the collective memory of the event. The trope is more than a narrat ive element, however, as it carries the affective force of the experience. The uncertainty marks the destabilization of normalcy in Japanese American life in the months before internment, and during it as well. This is the kind of detail that institutional history might dismiss, but which is recorded in collective memory and lingers in it, because its affective force is felt and remembered by the group. The loss of civil rights and the pain of being held in indefinite detention without trial that Korematsu remarks upon in his brief, is often referenced by Guantanamo detainees too. One tover 70). The dehumanizing and abusive conditions that many of the detainees experienced had left a deep mark on many of them. And even though many have since been released, their experiences in Guantanamo shadows their life and adversely affects their ab ility to get jobs. Another former detainee complained specifically about the lack of due process in Guantanamo. He argued that if
125 If you find me guilty, punish me. If you find me innocent, I should have been released already are innocent, and their release was only made possible after years o f lengthy legal processes and the intervention of civil rights lawyers. solidarity with the detainees when he expresses the traumatic collective memories of internment. And like the last Guantanamo detainee who complains about the lack of fair trial for the detainees, Korematsu was motivated to participate in Korematsu v. United States because he that they may Encyclopedia of Japanese American Internment). At stake in the three Guantanamo court cases were difficult questions about how the nation state should define enemy aliens, how it s hould treat these enemy aliens, and what rights are accorded to enemy aliens. Unlike the detainees who were arrested and detained in the United States, the Guantanamo detainees had been allegedly captured in combat zones in Afghanistan and other countries and tarred by their association to these foreign countries. Activism in support of their legal rights for their humane treatment was a politically fraught endeavor. And yet, for these same reasons, these detainees were a far more vulnerable group as they l acked legal and financial resources, political support, and familial networks to advocate on their behalf. suggests the continuing relevance of the melancholic memory o f internment, even to newer generations of Japanese Americans. This brief was filed by Karen Korematsu Haigh, Jay Hirabayashi, and Holly Yasui in support of the plaintiffs, the Muslim detainees, in the Ziglar v.
126 Abbasi case. This case was filed on behalf o f a number of foreign nationals who had been detained in the Administrative Maximum Special Housing Unit (ADMAX SHU) at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York. 15 This particular amicus brief strategically connects the experiences of the Issei interne es and the Muslim detainees as the Issei, many of whom had joining these two experiences, the brief expresses shared histories of oppression between melancholic ra cial subjects who are vulnerable to the excesses of state power. Like Korematsu, these writers also insert Japanese internment into the national conversation and legal discourse on Muslim internment. Framing Japanese internment as a traumatic experience in familial and collective history, the brief asserts that the melancholic memory has been transmitted to younger generations that did not experience internment first hand. The brief opens by noting that Japanese internment was Brief 1). Even as the amici trace a national and legal memory (by listing the court cases filed by Korematsu, Hirabayashi, and Yasui in 1943 and 1944 challenging Japanese internment), they ensur e, by emphasizing family memory, that the impact of internment is personal, deeply felt, families experience of internment. For instance, the brief notes that Ka ren Korematsu paternal grandmother, Kotsui Aoki, arrived in San Francisco in 1914 to marry her grandfather, 15 The plaintiffs, who include Muslim, South Asian, and Arab non (Center for Constitutional Rights Ziglar v. Abbasi). The MDC facility was on one of the two facilities that the Department of Justice examined closely in its report on Muslim detention (previously discussed), and its own inter nal findings found evidence of abuse, and failure to follow due process at this facility. Although previous cases to hold government officials accountable for their role in detention have failed, the Ziglar v. Abbasi case was allowed to advance to the Supr eme Court in 2016.
127 Kakusaburo Korematsu, that they lived in East Oakland, California when Pearl Harbor was anforan, California in 1942, and later in Topaz, Utah until the camp closed in 1945 (2). There is an insistence on recording and remembering marginalized lives, and bringing their experiences to the attention of the forgetful nation. While the state might have closed the episode of Japanese internment after its formal apology for a grave racial injustice, this brief suggests that the traumatic episode can never be fully buried in the collective memory of Japanese American citizens. The strong emphasis on fa milial history, on the experience of the Japanese American grandparents is striking in this brief. The amici state very early that the history they reference is y, but rather that suffered by their grandparents intergenerational nature of melancholia has already been suggested in my analysis of The Domestic Crusaders but it is parsed in more positive terms in Japan ese American activism. In that part of my project I noted how the older generation of Muslim Americans pass down a melancholic inheritance to their children and enjoin them to continue the normalizing performance of the good Muslim. The younger generation experiences a responsibility to continue a melancholic incorporation of dominant racial norms. In the amicus brief filed by a third generation of Japanese Americans, there is certainly a sense of responsibility to remember familial history, but it is not experienced as a burden. That this brief repeatedly references familial relationships suggests that civic activism becomes a means of honoring the legacy of Japanese American parents and grandparents who suffered through and survived internment. In separa te remarks explaining why she submitted this
128 American community ernstein). Although she was a child when he died, she later discovered that he had committed suicide because he suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome related to his internment experience. The melancholic memories that are inherited by younger genera tions of Japanese Americans not only pertain to the psychic trauma of internment, but also the leadership and conviction demonstrated by their grandparents in surviving decades of racist oppression leading up to and during internment. The amici in this bri ef also evoke their grandparents strategically because this generation constituted the Issei who were denied a legal path to citizenship. While this already presented substantial difficulties to the Issei before the attacks on Pearl Harbor, their Japanese citizenship, a tangible connection to an enemy country, exacerbated fears that they were un American and would side with Japan in World War II. By emphasizing the difficult situation of the Issei, who had families and other ties in the United States, could not become American citizen even if they wanted to do so, and most of whom did not wish to return to Japan, the amicus brief forms a connection to the Muslim, South Asian, and Arab aliens who were detained after 9/11 as potential terrorist suspects on imm igration related violations. This connection between melancholic subjects suggests that the current racial projects of the state have been developed and finessed through earlier operationalizations against racial minorities. Like the Issei, non resident a liens from countries with substantial Muslim populations were particularly suspect because their citizenship connected them to their country of origin. Their incorporation within the nation state as temporary immigrants was already contingent on state poli cies and international politics that impact issues like visa and international travel. Their allegiance to the United States after 9/11 was further challenged because they had broken
129 immigration laws, and as such were not considered model immigrants. Racia lized fears then that was nearly as complete as can be imagi around freely, and could be apprehended at any moment if deemed dangerous. The brief then notes that the plaintiffs in Zilgar v. Abbasi were not enemy aliens, but rather aliens who had committed immigration rela 9/ 11 detainees (16). By noting parallels between the Issei and the 9/11 detainees, but ultimately drawing out a difference between the two, the brief simultaneously argues that the detainees were wrongfully label. This label would have disastrous consequences for the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, who were denied many basic legal rights. Apart from this single instance of normalizing the detainees, the brief does not attempt to establish the character of the de tainees, or to prove their innocence. Neither does it gloss over their status as non resident aliens. By rejecting these normalizing measures, the brief refuses to be drawn into an argument about the personhood or subjectivity of the detainees. The defenda potentially guilty by association to their country of origin, and second, their treatment was excusable as potential terrorist suspects in a tense historical moment. T he lack of due process during their detention was a minor offense when the detainees were considered as potential terrorists with an inhuman and monstrous subjectivity.
130 Finally, the brief evokes the failure of the judiciary to act in the Korematsu, Hiraba yashi, failure in the contemporary moment (18). The brief makes several references to Korematsu, Hirabayashi, and Yasui, as this enables the amici to situate themselves in the footprints of their fathers. The efforts of their fathers and the activism of the amici is linked as they both attempt to redress wrongful prolonged detention based on race and national origin. The brief forms a link between institutiona l history and (the Japanese American) collective memory. It evokes institutional history in referencing the legal challenges to internment, but it is the evocation of the affective impact of internment, recorded in the collective memory, that separates the brief from other briefs that might have evoked institutional history too. The insertion of the racial trauma of internment into the legal terrain relies on Japanese Americans activists acknowledging a shared vulnerability with Muslim detainees. In conclus ion I want to comment on the contestation of racial state projects on the terrain of juridico political systems. While several of the court cases I mentioned above played an important role in freeing detainees, particularly in Guantanamo, I do want to ack nowledge the limitations of legal activism in cases of racial injustice. Namely, this kind of activism is premised on the notion that racial injustice can be redressed in a court, which is itself embedded in asymmetrical power relations and sy stemic racism W riting about the Guantanamo Bay lawyers, Rajini Srikanth debates about whether the deta 156). In other words, the humanity of the detainee takes second stage to whatever definition of personhood the detainee is allowed by the court. These are issues and constraints, however, th at
131 activists like Fred Korematsu have already experienced from the court cases which were filed against internment, and which eventually failed. These court cases, in which the judiciary s difficult questions about whether juridico political institutions can be the grounds on which marginalized groups challenge their oppression. I would suggest though, that Korematsu and other Japanese American activists are aware of the limitations of le gal measures to correct racial injustice. Yet, they choose to make a stand mechanisms. Moreover, such counterhegemonic actions have the capacity to shift the n ation at its most oppressive, the racial order [is] unable to arrogate to itself the entire capacity for the 79). A political struggle to confront the state (81). Denied the protective ambit of national belonging and social relationships during World War II, former Japa nese Americans and their internees experience an ethical responsibility to hierarchy of the nation state, as an ethnic Other but nonetheless one whom the state ha s feted, also gives him a unique platform to express his solidarity with the Guantanamo detainees. Rooted in personal experience and collective memory, the melancholic testimony inserted by Japanese American activists into legal conversations announces tha t the Muslim detainees are not alone in their suffering and their mistreatment will not go unchallenged
132 CHAPTER 4 NATIONALIST HISTORIOGRAPHY AND LIMITS OF MELANCHOLIC TESTIMONY Historiography and Digital Archives In postcolonial studies there is a rich vein of scholarly criticism on the colonial archive as a technology of control that is entrenched in hegemonic and asymmetrical power relations. Historically, the colonial archive was an important part of the bureaucracy of empire, and advanced the coloni technology of the late nineteenth e colonial archive was self propagating it emerged from that system which it simultaneously codified and brought into being. Along these lines, Foucault situates the archive as a meaning making system instrumental in reproducing ideology. The archive nar rativizes history while erasing its own mediating processes. What emerges from the archive then appears to be a priori knowledge rather than a constructed narrative built from selected documents (Foucault 129). In this line of reasoning, the archive is les s an arbitrary collection of objects, events, and statements, and more a narrative of power. Truillot, writing about archives and silence, observes that power As these scholars indicate, colonial archives were particularly invested in producing the colonized subject as variously primitive, inferior, and racially an d culturally different. This production was informed by colonial and racist ideology, authenticated by the archive, and then influenced action and opinion in the public sphere and imperial offices. These archives were one node in the network of referential ity which constituted Orientalist discourse and enabled the reproduction of empire. The colonial archives should be seen then as technologies of control that
133 actively participated in the continuing oppression of the colonized subject. This genealogy of the archive, and its embedding in asymmetrical power relations, is a cautionary reminder in this contemporary moment when digital archives have proliferated. Digital archiving has proven to be a scalable digital project, undertaken by anyone, from private ind ividuals to large educational institutions with varying socio technical infrastructures. Historicizing these exclusionary tendencies of the colonial archives is crucial so that the same tendencies are not replicated in digital archives. In this C hapter, I trace these concerns with power, ideology, and historiography in the September 11 Digital Archive, the largest 9/11 related archive today 1 The September 11 Digital 11, (About). My broad goal in this C hapter is to trace the limitations of melancholic testimony articulated by the Muslims within the scope of the emergent nationalist historiography of 9/11. The September 11 Digital Archive struggles to meet the conflicting pressures of a memorial space, which largely eulogizes victims, and a critical (digital) public sphere, where marginalized Muslims can speak of their encounters with racism to push for systemic change. F irst I examine the emergence of two intertwined nationalist chronological tracing of changes to the archive interface and then performing a close reading of 1 The archive currently has over 150,000 items in its repository, including 40,000 emails, 40,000 first person accounts, and 15,000 photos pertaining to 9/11. Developed as a collaboration between the American Social History Project at CU NY and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, the project has since been supported by a number of grants and institutional partners. In 2003, the Library of Congress incorporated the archive into its own permanent c ollection, marking the cultural significance of the archive and the implied necessity for its long ve is maintained with the goal of long term preservation, and it was transitioned to Omeka, the open access content management system for archives, in accordance with that goal in 2011. The archive continues to solicit contributions, but most of the materi al appears to have been collected in the first five years after 9/11.
134 the First Responders sub collection. As a national trauma, 9/11 is presented in the archive as a schismatic event that indelibly marks the national psyche, to the extent that a national future without the imprint of traumatic memories cannot be visualized. nation with a unifying figure around whom the traumatized nation and its people can coalesce. I examine the implicit erasures in this narrative when it delineates the category of citizen heroes around white, male American subjects. In the second part of this C hapter, I examine the incorporation of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian voices in the form of interviews in the digital archive The digital archive makes a notable effort to give space to their melancholic testimony, which addresses their daily and systemic experiences of racism and x enophobia after 9/11. As I ment ioned in the Introduction melancholic testimony is that utterance by which dispossessed minority citizens articulate the conditions of their historically situated racial oppression in order to hold the nation state accountable for its continuing investment in a hegemonic racial order. I argue that in the September 11 D igital Archive, this testimony by Muslims is circumscribed by the normative logic of the nation state which pervades the interview questions, and the digital archive. The inassimilable racial and cultural difference of Muslim subjects poses a challenge to the racial ideologies of the nation, and they are expected to temper that Otherness in order to enter civil society and public representation. The wounds of racism embedded in the melancholic psyche cannot become the basis for political aspirations or rest itution for the raced subject. Instead, the subject is expected to continue burying those wounds, and to look past them to express solidarity with the traumatized nation state after 9/11. In drawing out the limitations of melancholic testimony in a socio p olitical terrain which privileges nationalist historiography, I caution against
135 an overly optimistic estimation of racial melancholia and its affordances. While Japanese American activists do successfully intervene in juridico political systems, another te rrain of the racial state, with their melancholic testimony, their intervention does not imply that others will similarly succeed. Their legal briefs filter the voice of the Muslim detainees through Japanese American testimony of internment, but the interv iews in this digital archive present a direct encounter with the racial difference coded as threatening and monstrous in the national imaginary, and as such, less palatable to the project of nationalist historiography. This C hapter analyzes not only the c ontent of the September 11 Digital Archive, including photographs, interviews, and government reports, but also the structure of the archive, namely the user interface. While the content of the archive is certainly a rich source for uncovering how this arc hive generates national memory, it is not the only source. The structure of the digital archive is also imbued with power, and aids in the construction of a nationalist historiography of 9/11. In doing this critical reading of archival structure, I take up critical reading techniques developed in t he humanities to evaluate how technical structures open The material framework of the digital archive organizes the assembly of information in the archive and inf orms how that information is retrieved by users. This means that the structure of a digital archive also plays a critical role in the third moment which Truillot identifies as the stage of narrative making as these aspects mediate how marginalized subjects are re/presented as well as how the user/viewer accesses that re/presentation.
136 (DH) scholars, are an important reminder given that DH scholars continue to see digital archives as an opportunity to preserve cult urally important material as well produce open access scholarship. Digital archiving was one of the Digital history: a Guide to Gathering, Preserving and Presenting the P ast on the Web was one of the early Digital Humanities books when it was published in 2006, and it advised readers on how to take advantage of Internet technologies to build digital collections (Cohen and Rosenzweig 3). While Benedic t Anderson attributed print capitalism as the cause for the emergence of the nation state, we must now examine those forms of new media which support and recreate the contemporary nation state. As digital archiving remains a major concern in this field, th ere is a need for critical scholarship regarding these archives encode silences, absences, erasures, and power structures. Although digital archives that are open access, and can be constructed with relatively few resources and technical skills promise to be more democratic than colonial archives, they are not inherently progressive or neutral in their political meaning The egalitarian potential of digital technologies is constantly undermined by inequalities in infrastructure and access to those technolo gies, and this makes digital spaces and technologies amenable to ideological currents. Those who have the power to design digital technology, institute policies related to Internet infrastructures, and have access to digital spaces have the greater possibi lity of being able to shape digital infrastructures, technologies, and spaces. Castells frames this material undergirding of digital spaces in the context of value As he the pre existing sites, cultures, organizations, and institutions that still make up most of the material
137 possessing power, continue to produce, define, and regulate value, and this leads to a geopolitics of inclusion and exclusion, commonly referred to as the Digital Divide. Digital spaces have not severed ties from geopolitical rootedness and instead are infused with racial and national ideologies. Just as t he United States plays an important role in the global capitalist network because of its prior geopolitical position, so too does it operate as a major cultural and technological inf luence in virtual spaces. This C hapter frames the September 11 Digital Arc hive as a socio political technology which is inherently linked to the biopolitical regime of the American state, based on its racial ideologies and anxieties The Citizen Hero as Trauma Narrative Citizen heroes, in the context of 9/11 attacks, primarily r efers to three groups: 1) civilians who died in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, 2) the passengers who seized control of United Airlines 93 from the hijackers, and 3) first responders (firefighters, police, rescue workers, and others), includin g those who died during the early rescue efforts. As the term suggests, citizen heroes are average citizens who did something extraordinary during and after the 9/11 attacks. I use this term to refer to the American search for heroes of 9/11, for a narrati ve of hope amidst the bleakness and horror of the tragedy 2 One op ed piece published in October 2001 in The New York Times 3 2 This narrative is also visible in films like United 93 and World Trade Center and framed in newspaper articles and eries by The New York Times ). The most iconic valorized New York City firefighters raising an American flag over the rubble of the towers. In writing ab out this 3 Another editoria l published in The Washington Post heroes: firefighters, blood donors, United 93 pass engers, and even then Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Editorial The Washington Post ).
138 This cultu ral and political drive to produce heroes after 9/11 has been studied by scholars passengers on United Airlines 93 in films and television shows after 9/11. He a rgues that the le political and military command centers World Trade Center depicting th rising to the The terrorist attacks on American soil disrupted the idea of the home(land) as a safe space, and raised national anxieties about the American empire, specifically the poss ible decline of American global power and the diminishing of the cultural brand of America. The narrative of the citizen hero recuperates these anxieties by suggesting that common civilians, with their uncowed spirit and acts of courage, form the nucleus o f the American nation state. The nation evokes the interpellation of citizens into the military order of the state, to take offensive and defense actions to p rotect the nation, and to even sacrifice their lives to protect the American way of life. The term suggests that the state is capable of militarizing all its citizens in times of ground the valorization of citizens, as a means of recuperating from national trauma.
139 Reading the interface of the September 11 Digital Archive historically, since the archive went live in 2002, shows the gradual emergence of insular nationalist narrative s, particularly of the citizen hero, after 9/11. Over the years, changes to the Collections menu has submerged other narratives with the end result that the citizen heroes have become hypervisible. Archival structure 4 and not just archival content, plays a key role in the hypervisibility of this one narrative until alternative narratives are buried. This chapter focuses closely o interface which allows the user to interact with the system. I read the interface as a techno ideological space i n which the system is presented to a user 5 As a map of the underlying system, the interface makes interpretive choices about how to represent the system for the user. Studying the interface presents then a way to understand how underlying elements such as code, metadata, page design, hyperlinks, search features, and database structures are ideologically and politically constructed 6 Tracing the various iterations of the September 11 Digital Archive website through the Internet Wayback Machine 7 since it wa s launched in 2002 shows how the narrative of the citizen 4 The material structure of the digital archive is the organizing schema which houses the content of the digital archive. This schema includes the underlying code and database wh ich is the framework for the archive. Structure archive. Features add capabilities such as search and retrieval, meta data, and hyperlinkin g to the digital archive. Finally, structure includes interface and design, which refers to the aesthetic choices made in the presentation of the archive. 5 (Drucker 7). The interface, she argues, provokes cognitive processes in the way in which elements are arranged on interaction with the system in specific ways. Hidden underneath the interface, but informing it, are the logics of system structure and design which are in turn shaped by ideas of how knowledge should be represented in computational systems, and cultural ideologies of design. 6 assertion inex tricably joins form and meaning, and indicates that the technical structure of the archive determines how an event is recorded is memory, and hence, shapes its future interpretations. 7 Created by the Internet Archive, the Wayback Machine indexes webpages at regular intervals to archive websites. The goal of the tool is to create an open access archive that preserves the World Wide Web for posterity. As the
140 hero gradually came to prominence. The website has gone through a number of updates and changes that can be tracked through the Wayback Machine. When the September 11 Digital Archive was published o nline in 2002, the narrative of the citizen heroes was one of several featured narrative under Special Collections. The website, at that point, only had one main page, the landing page, which allowed users to browse the collection by document type (Email R epository and Image Repository), or through the featured Special Collections (see Figure A.1 in the appendix ). The Special Collections page highlighted items which had presumably been selected by th e curators of the archive (see Figure A.2 ). The highlighte d video content included a tribute to 9/11 heroes, a video on the impact of 9/11 on airline workers, Arab American responses to 9/11, and South Asian leaders addressing hate crimes. In other highlighted categories, the curators highlighted satire, comedy, calls for military retaliation, the Anthrax crisis, and digital artwork memorializing 9/11. As this list indicates, the Special Collections page initially enshrined a diversity of responses ranging from hypernationalist responses to outrage about the civi l rights violations of Muslims. Although tributes to victims and references to heroes was the first item at the top of the page, one of the advantages of this Special Collections page was that users were encouraged (by the layout of the page) to see that c alls for retribution (against a broadly constructed and crimes against Muslims. These cultural narratives co existed and informed each other. Moreover, the grouping of these items together allowed the reader to question how one narrative might shape another, or affect public action. The visual placement of these narratives in the interface, in Wayback Machine preserves older iterations of a website, it is a useful tool to track changes to a we bsite over a period of time or even access websites that have been taken down from the World Wide Web.
141 the 2002 version of the website, enabled readers to encounter a multiplici ty of narratives about 9/11. Towards the end of 2002, the website was updated, and the most prominent shift was the apparent de narrativization of the Special Collections page. The Special Collections page, instead of being organized by topic, was now org anized by document type (Stories, E mails, Still Images, Moving Images, Audio, Documents). The highlighted topics which used to be on the page were moved elsewhere. For example, the video on the impact of 9/11 on airline workers would now appear only when the user had navigated to the Moving Images Special Collection. This shift in the Special Collections curtailed curatorial power in the assembling and presenting of pre formed narratives for the consumption of the user, thus indicating that the new interfa ce of the archive aspired to be neutral and objective. It appeared, at least on the surface, that the user now had more agency in navigating the disparate items in the various Special Collections and constructing individual narratives of 9/11. While the li mited highlighted content nudged the reader towards curator selected narratives of 9/11, the reader was largely left to browse through interpretation of the event w as still overdetermined by whatever narratives were already predominant in the archive. For example, the archive has always had a larger sample size of self submitted testimonies than newspaper articles, of photographs of the Twin Towers than of the Pentag on, of American responses to 9/11 than of navigation through the archive would likely yield, in probabilistic terms, those narratives, ideas, and documents, which were over Truillot 29). In 2007, six years after the attacks, the website was updated again and the changes
142 orientation as a space for collective mourning became more emphas ized with these changes. The new Special Collections returned to being organized by topics and were all concerned with witnessing and testifying to the attacks. These sub collections, selected by curators, included collections acquired from the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress as well as user submitted photographs and other digital items. Highlighted sub emergence of this t opic oriented Sub Collections menu included the narrative of the citizen hero. These sub collections fall under the genre of the testimonial (as indicated in phrases like ing them for posterity. The testimonial also offers space for grieving the losses of 9/11. By reading the testimonies of other traumatized subjects, users can cope with the tragedy of the event collectively and within the bounds of the imagined community t hat constitutes the nation. In general, the very names of these collections reflect a broader concern that memories of the attacks were fragile and in need of preservation. In 2014, with the last update to the website, the Special Collections page was upd ated again, and the changes again emphasized the importance of testimony and bearing witness to national trauma. The new page is now organized by a mix of document type (e g Video), source of content (e g Librar y of Congress), and topic (see Figure A .3 below). The curatorial choices in selecting this arbitrary organization are unclear. The First Responders collection and the Sept 11: Bearing Witness to History collec tion stand out (highlighted in F igure A. 3) here because they are the only remaining coll ections which are organized around thematic content. In their names and prominent placement (towards the top left) on the page, these collections already gesture towards several ideas about 9/11. It is useful here to think of the interface of the digital a rchive
143 is built atop the code for a non technical user who cannot directly engage with t he system at the level of code. This means that the interface is a me diated product as it is built by programmers, project managers, and others who must decide how to present the system in a user friendly can access, and how the user accesses content. Due to the important role that the interface plays in use experience, Cynthia Selfe and Richard Selfe write that computer interfaces should be nts of contact, but they also foreclose meetings, and hinder circulation. This metaphor of the border is particularly amenable to the digital archive because the interface shapes what the user looks at, and hinders access to other material. The 2014 updat trauma, and of the citizen hero hypervisible. First, 9/11 is upheld as a historic event for the nation ading the content of the Bearing Witness to History collection more closely later, I will frame this event creates national subjects who are both affected by the e vent and yet somewhat distanced from it. traumatic event defies adequate representation in language, the survivor expe riences a responsibility to narrate it nonetheless. Felman and Laub write of this responsibility as an
144 appointee cannot relieve himself by 3). The appointment feels like a burden when it is perceived to be a solitary endeavor, with the witness holding a unique truth revealed during the traumatic event. In the context of the digital archive, viewers of 9/11 and its aftermath are pressed into service as witnesses tasked with the role of preserving their memories of the event, as a part of their contract to the nation state. By bearing witness, and offering their testimony, citizens engage in the construction of a national memory, and of an emer gent historiography of 9/11. Such recitation and repetition is crucial not only in consolidating historiography, but also in the amalgamation of the archive itself. Derrida poses repetition as a necessary archival impulse to protect against the destructive force of the death drive ( Archive Fever 14). If the archive exerts an archontic power, to name the law and consign or gather signs, in other words, engage in and th e (10, 14). This anarchontic force is situated at the very heart of the archive, and destabilizes its consignment. Repetition, as it occurs in the September 11 Digital Archive to shore up national memories, forms a corrective agains t this destructive force, archive. The hypervisibility of the citizen heroes in this updated collections menu, however, cannot be attributed solely to a general driv e for archival repetition. The presence of the First Responders collection on this page suggests that first responders, who are among the group counted as citizen heroes, are more crucial to understanding 9/11 than any other group of individuals affected b y 9/11. The changing interface of the September 11 Digital Archive over
145 the years reveals the hypervisibility of the citizen hero narrative to the overall sense of all that 9/11 constitutes. The citizen hero narrative is part of the mythologization that Ta l deems as a process of codification reduces the traumatic event to recognizable narratives, tropes and symbols. While the traumatic event cannot be contained entirely, as it extends past psychic capabilities of assimilation, the standardized narratives resulting from mythologization allow traumatized subjects to begin coping with the stimonies are narrated, recorded, and interpreted in specific cultural contexts with political uses and implications. Turning from the interface of the digital archive to its content, a closer analysis of the items in the First Responders Collection shows how the digital archive cod ifies 9/11 as a national trauma and mythologizes the first responders as citizen heroes whom the nation can collectively mourn. The First Responders Collection is prominently featured on the Collections page, and it is the only c ollection that explicitly refers to a group of people affected by 9/11. Its prominent placement suggests that first responders are crucial to the cultural imaginary of 9/11, and users who want to learn more about 9/11 should engage with the experiences of this group of people. The collection mainly houses action plans and reports released by the Fire Department of New York City during the clean up efforts at Ground Zero, EMT photos at Ground Zero for a length of time after 9/11, and messages and photos than collections.
146 I will root my analysis, of how this collection mythologizes first responders a s exemplary workers and ideal American citizens, in the photographs included in this collection, namely the responders, while expected given their work after 9/11, constructs rescue work as gendered labor, mainly open to white men, and occludes the tensions within the respecti ve organizations (especially the Fire Department of New York) over their racial and gender gatekeeping efforts. Finally, drawing on Judith Butler work in Precarious Lives I argue that the construction of white men as heroes, and also victims, forecloses t he possibility for dispossessed subjects to claim those subject positions after their citizenship rights and even their potential as human beings ideal site to examine the valorization of first responders for a number of reasons. The interface of the digital archive emphasizes visuals (as each visual is displayed as a small snapshot) over documents (which are presented on the page in the form of a g eneric icon). Visuals, especially photographs, always catch the eye first in the display of items in the sub collection. The interface design, in other words, encourages viewers to browse through the photographs. Perhaps because 9/11 was one of the most vi sualized tragedies in the contemporary world, the digital archive contains thousands of images collected from other institutions and self submitted by users. collection, most of the photos appear to depict not workers but wreckage, and evoke repetition, a trope of trauma narratives. These photos record Ground Zero as a wound in the psychic fabric of the nation and a scar in the material landscape of New York. As the photos were taken by an EMT who helped with rescue ef forts
147 working at Ground Zero as a monumental endeavor. The photographs capture the harsh and discouraging work that workers faced at Ground Zero as it became clear t hat live victims would not be found in the rubble. In a large set of these photos, the rubble is always set in the background but it looms over the miniscule s ubjects in the foreground (see Figures A.4 and A .5 for representative ex amples ). The sheer heat a nd violence which brought the buildings down is visible in the metal, which is shorn, bent, and broken into unrecognizable parts. The smoke rising over the rubble is ominous, and signals how recently the towers came down and the dangers incipient in the re scue and clean up efforts. The debris shown in the photographs is itself a site of a horror as it contains the remains of those who were not able to escape the collapsing towers. up are not then as straightforward as they appear to be, and the photographs draw the spectator into gazing at the horrors of the site eclipsed from public question of the spectator, and of the first Trauma at Home 191). The indistinct boundaries between the two become apparent in the fact that powdered 8 The sacralized dust becomes the on ly remaining trace of human bodies, and at the same time, human remains face the possibility of being reduced to dust and carted from the site as debris. Yaeger thus imbues the debris with ngs: rubbish to be cleared 8 invested with solemn ceremony, the officers [of the New York Police Department] are filling at least 4,000 small gallon drums were filled and blessed by a chaplain at ground zero, then taken by police escort to One Police Plaza. There, they were blessed again, and placed in a narrow, newly cleaned and painted room. The drums are covered with American flags. They are flanked by two honor guards, forward gazes unwavering, who stand sentry 24 hours a
148 away, hallowed matter handled respectfully, a contaminating and polluting agent for the living, and a weapon capable of killing (190, 191). In the context of the photographs, Barthes might 27). The punctum is experienced on the affective register, and it disturbs and punctuates the stu dium which is recorded on the cultural, historical, and political register on whic h an image might be read. While the photos of Ground Zero might construct a historical and cultural consciousness of the event, it is the debris in the photos which pricks and wounds the e viewer. The uncanny nature of the debris, as the punctum of the photographs, stems from the fact that it draws the With the added implication of its constitutive elements, the looming debris in the photographs takes on darker overtones as it becomes apparent that the first responders were not dealing solely with debris, but with this fused horror of inanimate animate matter. The first responders cleared away, trod upon, and even inhaled this in/animate matter, subsuming its horrors onto themselves. In relation to the horrifying symbols contained within debris, the first responders are variously rescue workers, clean up crew, interlopers and exhumers on a burial site, and mediators betwee n the external world and the horrors of Ground Zero. Their role as mediators is particularly significant because they screen the nation from further traumatization and sanitize the site of Ground Zero until it can be re opened for public consumption. They are charged with removing the material signs of a psychic wound, until the wound is rendered invisible, and present only in its absence. The wound is a reminder of the new found vulnerability of the nation state, and the loss of life linked with 9/11. Seve ral scholars have since defined the Ground Zero site as an absence;
149 terms it a void that must be filled with meaning and narrative (Greenberg 25, Stamelman 15). As a tr aumatic wound, the site resists closure or healing and compels the return of the spectator to witness loss. Dozens of photos capture the site of the wound from different perspectives, angles, and at different times of the day in an attempt to contain the m onumentality of the event which escaped psychic assimilation. Some photos pan the site widely to capture its size, while others zoom in on the chaos of the rubble. Such repetition is part of the aftermath of trauma: because the traumatic event fails to be re turn to the site of the trauma, and the struggle to cope with it. Traumatized subjects can then revisit a personal and national wound together and attempt posses (Sontag 9). The debris littered site evokes not only the traumatic wound, but also a nostalgia for an idealized time before the traumatic event. And if the traumat ic event disrupts signification and psychic assimilation, then the photograph presents an opportunity to grapple with the event. These photographs of the wreckage also suggest a temporal rupture, as the user is locked into the past, in a never ending repet ition of 9/11 and its immediate aftermath. In photos taken at various times after the attack, the damaged towers are sometimes partially resurrected, but they fall again and again into smoking debris. A future without the traumatic event cannot be fully im agined within the scope of the memorial digital project. This is particularly the case for the First Responders collection as the photos only document early clean up efforts. Within the bounds of
150 the collection, the clean up effort is never ending, and the site of the wound remains raw, open, and covered in debris. The relative bleakness of this vision of the past and its looming impact on the future is partially offset, however, by the workers who appear in the images. When first responders are present in most of the images in this sub collection, they are so dwarfed by the scale of the smoldering wreckage that surrounds them that they are recognizable only by their bright safety clothing and they appear not to be valorized at all. The perspective of the ph otographs indicates the vast scope of the work facing the first responders. Barely distinguishable from the rubble, the workers become part of the rubble, of the violence and tragedy of the event. The workers are rendered so small in comparison to the size of the rubble that their usefulness is also called into question. Yet the photographs only record in absentia the shock, dismay, and helplessness that workers might have experienced in the immediate days after 9/11 when they confronted the task before the m. It was not time yet for the workers to process or record their own emotions, or perhaps the workers temporarily deflect a confrontation with traumatic emotions by investing themselves in Ground Zero. In the photos with the looming rubble, the workers la ck any individuality, and individual differences are coded as unimportant in comparison to the tragedy they are part of. Such lack of individuality is not at odds with the celebratory rhetoric around the first responders as this rhetoric does not rely on individualized portraiture or narratives. Rather, it is the work performed by the first responders collectively that forms the core of the celebratory rhetoric around citizen heroes. Even though they are confronted by this enormous labor, the workers are u ndaunted, and continue to work away at the rubble. When workers are portrayed in close up photographs, they are generally depicted at work, or in motion (see images below). The workers embody a sense of purpose and intensity, even though their actions in t he photograph
151 appear to be small or mundane. One worker is shown in a ruined corridor scrubbing or marking a pillar. Another photograph shows workers amidst medical stretchers and boxes with trucks and an ambulanc e in the background (see photo A 6). This p hoto foregrounds two workers who are walking past each other in opposite directions. One of them wears an American flag pinned to his safety hat and is captured midstride in the photograph. The workers never look at the camera (or the viewer), but they lo ok evenly ahead or up, and never down at the ground. Their forward gaze into an unseen future directs attention away from the traumatic gash on the ground which anchors the nation in the present moment and hinders progress towards imagining a future withou t trauma. There are no posed portraits as though to suggest that the work to be done at The collection favors the d epiction of blue collar workers and most of the photogr aphs show the men at work. Working willingly in a dangerous work environment, these workers offer their labor to the nation, for the eventual rebuilding of the site, and of America. Clearing the rubble is an act of faith and an investment in the future of the nation. When the workers are individually distinguishable, they appear to be male and white. The workers are also marked in terms of work and nationality. The safety clothing and uniform reflects the kind of work they performed at the site of the wound The presence of the American flag on their uniforms or in their immediate surroundings putatively marks these men as American. The fluttering American flag, which is raised in windows, on machinery, above the rubble, and the laboring men symbolizes an un cowed American spirit. The iconography of the flag on or around the men is significant in their mythologization as American heroes. The ubiquitous presence of the flag asks readers to put aside the other aspects of their identity in favor of asserting an A merican identity and national unity during a troubled time.
152 I want to draw back from the photographs now, and situate them within a framework of trauma narratives and victimhood, and the erasures implici t in both. It is perhaps not unusual that a digital collection devoted to First Responders will to some extent mythologize their efforts during and after the 9/11 attacks. These workers did risk their lives, and continued to work in dangerous conditions. Their work is commendable, and that there is a concer ted attempt to document their efforts, and preserve this record for posterity is to be expected. The issue, however, is that this narrative of the citizen hero is repeated in other collections in the digital archive to the occlusion of other narratives of 9/11. There is digital artwork commemorating rescue workers, audio and video content discussing the bravery of these heroes, and photos of ash covered firemen across all the collections (especially in User Submitted Content Collection, in various Photograp hy sub collections, and the 10th Anniversary Collection). In the commemorative space of the digital archive, the narrative of first responders as citizen heroes, and its recuperative function for national trauma, dominates other possible avenues of underst anding 9/11. As pre eminent American symbols, these workers are celebrated and mourned by the public at large. Graffiti, artwork, thank you letters, and pictures of street memorials, which are 9/11 attacks. In other words, viewers are instructed on who is constituted as worthy of being particularly resonant here when mourning is premised on the attachment of personhood and value to a life. The category of the
153 collective space (public and virtual), such as the September 11 Digital Archive which collects the necessary documents for the formation of these categories in relation to post 9/11 America. The citizen heroes of 9/11 perform in multiple capacities as citizens, heroes, victims, soldiers, and sacrifices. David Simpson comments on the congruency of these subject positions when they are collapsed together in his work on co mmemorative narratives of 9/11. He argues that civilians have been interpellated as heroes to create patriotic icons for the wounded nation to narratives of victims and heroes, those who made a sacrifice and who were the objects of a sacrifice invented red their lives for a patriotic cause, but they became patriots in death implicitly American even though they represent ed many different nationalities Their sacrifices bring the nation together in collective mourning, and eventually, in collective retri bution. Further, the celebratory rhetoric of the photographs (particularly emphasized against the bleakness of the mountains of rubble), covers over issues of race and gender within the institutions represented in the photographs, and in America. For insta nce, there are almost no photos, or other forms of documentation, of women firefighters who were also involved in rescue efforts after 9/11. The documents in the digital archive reiterate rescue work as a gendered labor, which is open mostly to men. As the Franklin photograph (of the three white firefighters raising the flag) further shows, rescue work is crafted as the domain of white men. 9 The FDNY has 9 The FDNY has historically had substantially lower numbers of minority firefighters along gender and racial lines. In 2012, there were only 28 female firefighters in the approximately 10,000 firefighters in New York. Out of that total gr oup, 6% were Hispanic, 3% were black, and 1% were Asian (Gardiner). While the archival gaps in the September 11 Digital Archive can be partially attributed to these existing imbalances in the workforce, the archive also reinforces these imbalances by attri buting rescue work to white men. In effect, I believe that the digital archive delimits the social imaginary, in other words, the imagination of possibilities for a more equitable FDNY workforce when it underemphasizes the contribution of minority rescue w orkers. Users who browse through these photos
154 historically been white, and over the years it has faced accusations of discriminating against nonwhite applicants. In the September 11 Digital Archive, these racial tensions are rendered invisible because the emphasis, after 9/11, was to stand as a united nation and celebrate firefighters. Connor writes, in a related context, that these heroic visualizatio ns of the FDNY reiterated the historical ascription of heroism to white men after 9/11 (95). Since most of the documents in this archive come from the early and mid 2000s, what is also missing from the celebratory discourse around the rescue workers is tha t many of them suffer today from health issues related to their 9/11 rescue work. As public and state attention turned away, these workers now suffer in relative obscurity The Testimony of the Marginalized Citizen The hypervisibility of the citizen heroes in the September 11 Digital Archive who are mostly white, male, and American, raises troubling concerns about whose trauma is articulated within the archive, and the possible limitations of the persistent national trauma narrative of 9/11. As a memorial space of trauma, the digita l archive codes 9/11 as a loss that is felt individually and nationally. That this same ideological construction of national trauma is reflected across different genres and national spaces is to be expected as these sites support the imagined community that is the nation. Writing about this framing of the American nation state and its boundaries of victim communities and of their would have to actively look for the gaps in the representation of rescue work to locate the missing narrative of minority rescue workers.
155 The interplay between the Self (the victim of trauma) and the Other is critical in conceptions of trauma, and Cathy Caruth, one of the seminal scholars of trauma theory, sets forth a striking imbrication of the Self and Other at the heart of the traumatic experience. Drawing out the sig nificance of the story of Tancred, the traumatized subject who kills his beloved Clorinda, 2 3) 10 Caruth interprets the story of the wound as that of the co constitution of trauma between trauma is tied up with the trauma of another, the way in which trauma may lead, therefore, to the two subjects, from the moment of the initial unassimilated event to the eventual afterlives and recurrences of the traumatic event. Trauma, in this conceptualization, creates an opportunity in which two subjects might encounter and potentially engage with eac h other. This attempt at situating trauma as a productive experience, particularly as an encounter between the two bodies of the Self and another, becomes complicated when the another is transmuted into the Other, who is situated historically and politica lly and whose body is marked is doomed to repeat violence upon a female body, rendered inhuman as a tree, which then becomes fetishized as a site and voice of truth. As the voice that speaks emerges from the wound 10 ved, and then repeats the violent act when he traumatized subject, Tancred, who is haunted by the specter of his beloved, is the same on e who has committed two acts of violence against an(Other) body
156 truth uttered by that voice after re raises fur ther troubling questions in the postcolonial context of the normative Self and the subaltern Other 11 as the voice of an(other) is characterized variously as enigmatic in nature, and alternatively pleading and commanding a response from the Self (9). The log ocentric framework within which the marginalized subject speaks renders subaltern testimony as enigmatic, garbled, and illegible. 12 In the context of my project, it becomes necessary to ask whether the testimony of marginalized Muslims can be given a space of enunciation and whether Muslims can articulate their critique of American racial politics within the national trauma narrative of 9/11. As the normative Self, which is the nation state in the context of my project, is allowed the privilege of being th e listening subject, it determines when, what, and how to listen to its racial minorities. This capacity of the listening subject to set the terms o f testimony was apparent in C hapter 3 on Japanese American activism, especially on behalf of the Guantanamo Bay detainees. While the detainees themselves articulated their suffering in detention under extremely restrictive conditions, even the Japanese American activists who participated in legal challenges to detention had to do so on the terms of the state. Re stitution through law is premised on state 11 My dissertation largely frames Muslims as Othered subjects, those who are granted a devalued citizenship with restricted rights and freedoms due to their racial, cultural, and religious dif ference in the post 9/11 context. This C hapter suggests, however, that the epistemological lens of subalternity might be better suited to understand the experience of Muslims when they are unable to secure representation in hegemonic spaces or their access to these Muslim subalternity in the September 11 Digital Archive. 12 The seminal question nt, which also evokes testimony, encounters with difference outside normativity, and inassimilability, challenges whether trauma can be a productive site of engagement with those who are different from the normative Self given the positioning of this Other maintaining asymmetrical power relatio ns.
157 interest in the rights and freedoms of the Guantanamo detainees, and this is an interest that was already understood as tenuous at best. In parallel terms, this C hapter asks whether the historiography underway in the September 11 Digital Archive is able to adequately represent Muslim voices that might undermine the hegemonic narrative of national trauma. Thus, framing trauma within a hegemonic power structure is crucial not just in highlighting the precarious posit ion of the subaltern, but also in complicating the position of the normative Self as a trauma victim. initiator of a new cycle of violence. Unable to resolve his state of befuddlement after he ki lls Clorinda but compelled to act (and repeat the act), he wounds Clorinda again. Clorinda occupies two positions in this narrative: the spirit that haunts Tancred with evidence of his violent actions and a reminder of his psychical wound, as well as a thi ng capable of experiencing corporeal affect. The narrative cannot do away with her sense of being injured, not once but twice. perpetrator of violence as much as he is also the traumatized subject. The question raised then is how, and if, trauma studies can attend to a subject who is both traumatized and also an initiator of and participant in new cycles of violence? 13 This is a subject who experiences victimization and loss and can simultaneously support hegemonic projects. In the post 9/11 context, these concerns about trauma theory are particularly pressing as 9/11 has been framed as a distinctively and unifying American national trauma. This framing 13 I would argue that trauma theory has not developed in this regard because it historically developed out of studies on the Holocaust where it had a clinical value in helping survivors grapple with their horrific experiences. Within that historical co was unthinkable.
158 was apparent in news me dia reports, 14 government documents, and political commentary 15 about the event. As recently as December 2014, President Obama evoked national trauma as an 16 Perhaps shaped by the initial reports of Americans, and particularly, New Yorkers suffering from trauma 17 cultural and literary analyses of 9/11 have been dominated by trauma theory. Greenberg writes, for example, that for New Yorkers, 9/11 disrupted the home as a safe space, (Greenberg 22). In this line of thinking, 9/11 was a schismatic event in the American psyche which failed to be assimilated when it first occurred, and h ence, it returns to haunt the traumatized subject. Bennett notes that 9/11 was construed as a national trauma, with the nation itself as the traumatized and shattered subject (Bennett 133). In parallel terms, Smelser et al frame 9/11 as a cultural trauma, which is experienced at the level of and marks the identity of the collectivity in the present moment, and extending into the future (Cultural Trauma 264). 14 The evocation of trauma was common in news media articles reporting on 9/11. For instance, in an article on survivors and family members traumatized to some degree. Their city has been attacked. As the country entered a constant state of war, they were Times). 15 Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice, among other officials, called upon the trauma narrative to explain the that had been done to Am (Clarke). 16 midst of national trauma and uncertainty as t 17 According to statistics collected by various New York City programs, more than 10,000 residents developed symptoms of trauma af as New Yorkers who witnessed the attacks. A report compiled by the VA Office noted that in the week after 9/11, a telephone survey found that 44% of participants and PTSD).
159 Rothberg further challenges trauma research to theorize connected experiences of suffering, 18 and at American trauma after 9/11 has occluded other traumas, and dissociated the ways in which the trauma of the American people has become linked to the traumas of Afghanis, Iraqis, and other people drawn into the wider War on Terror (147). Apart from the occlusion of traumatized subjects of the War on the Terror outside the United States, th projects against the racialized bodies of Muslims living within the United States. As I have shown in the Introduction, state policies tended, for the most part, not to see Muslim citizens as victims, or capable of experiencing the national trauma of 9/11. As with other situations of race based violence, Muslims encountered daily, multiple, and additive aggressions. Historically, trauma studies has considered only singular an d exceptional events as instigators of traumatization. 19 This conceptualization is insufficient to address the Muslim experience, as the insular nationalist projects they suffered through did not always occur on major scales. These projects, are however, re markably continual and self renewing. They penetrate diverse aspects of social life, and were experienced by Muslims in many public spaces. Daily and lived experiences of racial prejudice are not uncommon in a system that privileges whiteness, and frequent ly, there are single victims, who collectively reflect the working on a prejudiced system and society. The 18 The Generation of Postmemory attempts precisely this kind of connected reading of trauma in a different context when she examines how Palestinian and Israeli trauma is imbricated. 19 ideological work done by that term in the post 9/11 context. Dawson and Schueller write that the very treatment o f 9/11 as an exceptional
160 effect of these aggressions might be abrupt as well as accretive. They might not lead to an y gradually at the mental and physical well being of the subject. The troubling experiences of Muslims after the attacks are also a pa rt of the aftermath of 9/11: notably, the September 11 Digital Archive does attempt to adequately grapple with these exper iences insofar as they may be distinctively Muslim experiences A keyword search for Arab yield yet fewer results 20 Although this is a relatively small number (g iven that the archive spans an overall collection of over 150,000 items), it is important to note that experiences of marginalization and racial oppression are not completely excluded in this archive. Most of these items are from solicited collections from other institutions. For example, one notable sub collection has 68 interviews conducted by the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMEAC) with mostly Arab and/or Muslim Americans from 2002 2003. MEMEAC, an academic unit at the Graduate Center CUNY, offers degree programs and holds events that The Center was founded in 2001, and the interview project was likely one of their earliest initiatives. These intervi ews address the ways in which Muslims, Arab Americans, and Asian Americans experienced racism after 9/11. The interviews are anonymously recorded and enable Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians to articulate their experience of 9/11 and post 9/11 racial violen ce. 20 The search feature is an imperfect method to determine t he number of items related to Muslims in the digital archive because it assumes the reliability of the search algorithm, and good metadata and tagging so that all relevant results are retrieved. Nonetheless, it is the only feasible way to determine an esti mated number of documents pertaining to Muslims in the digital archive.
161 This is an important attempt at engaging with the experience of Muslims who were to a large and persistent extent denied the cultural belonging and legal rights accorded to citizens after 9/11, and I will focus on how these interviews record their tes timony in the rest of this chapter. When I discussed Japanese American activism on behalf of Muslims after 9/11, I explored how the testimony of the melancholic (the Japanese American subject, in this case) intervenes in and alters legal discourse on the r ights and treatment of detained Muslims after 9/11. Drawing on a collective memory of historical racial wounds, wounds that are carried into the present by the melancholic psyche, Japanese Americans challenged the nation of national securi ty, racial profiling, and the curtailing of human rights and freedom s to detained Muslims. In this C hapter, I outline the limitations placed on the testimony of Muslims, when this testimony is solicited, received and incorporated on the normative terms of the nation state. In other words, this section traces the limits of melancholic testimonies, particularly when a subject marked at the vectors of devalued racial, cultural, and religious difference is speaking in a national (and digital) public sphere whic h is not amenable to listening to subaltern subjects. Unlike the Japanese American testimony I discussed, the Muslim American voices in this digital archive are bounded by the strictures placed by the problematic interview questions and the drive to produc e normalized Muslims contained within the interview questions. This means that the melancholic subject is encouraged to dredge up their racialized interactions with the nation state and its people, but the interview does not prioritize the frustrations and melancholic losses (psychic and material) that stem from these interactions. The evocative accounts of individual suffering due to racial violence generate empathy and produce the Muslim citizen as worthy of belonging to the nation state even as these acc ounts omit linkages to systemic racism. Wendy Brown, writing about how minority subjects are
162 incorporated in liberal societies under the principle of tolerance, comments that tolerance (44). This subject which threatens to undermine the coherence of the dominant order, always remains distinct, even when it is incorporated, but the project of tolerance manages alterity by attempting to normalize it (26, 28). My a nalysis of the MEMEAC interviews highlights the process of producing a normative Muslim subject. In order to be legible as victims of racial violence, the interviewees must leave behind their racial and cultural difference, and it is that abandoned kernel of Otherness which forms the core of racial melancholia. reactions to the fixity of the traumatic event in their own lives. By prompting answers that present clear memories of where they were when the attacks happened, and their feelings of shock and despair on behalf of the victims of 9/11, the questions bind the Muslim interviewee with the larger national community that has continued to ask these questions in the years since 9/11. However, by giving all the subjects in the interviews a single originary point, the archive also organizes subaltern voices around the experiential register of 9/11. Marginalized voices matter first because they can contribute to th e story of 9/11. The interviews exist in the collection as an incorporation to add diversity, to prevent a completely normative perspective on 9/11. The value of marginalized voices is decided by what they can contribute to the story of 9/11. This is the l iberal project of tolerance that Wendy Brown critiques in her work as it incorporates the voice of the dispossessed citizens, but in order to manage its
163 alterity. As the interviews are interested in documenting a Muslim experience of 9/11, an immediate pro scope of the interview, and the digital archive. The subjects who speak matter because they can claim that subject position. As a result, the interviews include a large number of questions which call on the interviewee to speak as a Muslim. These questions are formulated with the notion that one Muslim subject can speak for the experience of Muslims in America as well as Muslims abroad. This essentialized subject position constr ucted within the interviews is made apparent quite early. When the interviewees are asked about their first reaction to the attacks, they are 21 The question implici tly suggests that Muslims do have something to feel guilty about and that they are in this narrative, guilty by association. It is a question that many Muslims have repeatedly faced after 9/11 in different forms as it invites Muslims to dissociate themsel ves from the 9/11 terrorists and articulate a stance of the good and productive Muslim citizen. But this performative move is made for the benefit of those Americans who already suspect the loyalties of brown Muslim subjects. The question places the interv iewees in a defensive position early in the interview as it makes them aware that the audience for these interviews is the broader American public, many of whom will likely perceive them with suspicion, and expect them to make performative disassociations between good Muslims and terrorists. This awareness of a 21 Although it is not clear why, this question was not posed to every interviewee, and when it was asked, the phrasing differed from question to question. Some interviewers took a more (Interview 3, 9). Some interviewers also returned to the question on guilt if the interviewee did not address it directly.
164 hostile audience also pushes the interviewees (as I show later) to make other normative moves demonstrating the loyalty of the Muslim interviewees to the American nation state. Later questions contin ue to force the interviewees into defending themselves, and speaking for Muslims everywhere. Some questions position the Muslim subject as an ethnic insider, one who is called upon to report on their community as an expert. For instance, the interviewees a Sept 11 Digital Archive). In answering this question, (as I discuss later), the interviewees are placed in the difficult situation of either an swering in a simple negative, or attempting to explain the geopolitical differences and historical conflicts that led up to 9/11. These questions presume that the Muslim interviewee can speak for a religious group that holds disparate cultural and national ties, and call upon an already marginalized subject to perform the emotional labor of clarifying the feelings of a minority group. National differences (as the interviewees are from different countries) are elided in this kind of question, as the intervie wees are asked to focus on religious identity over other identities they embrace. In other questions the interviewees are asked to offer their advice as Muslims on issues of they] think members of [their] community or [their] community organizations can do to improve [race] oving race relations in America firmly on those who have been, historically, subjected to racial aggre ssions. (MEMEAC Interviews). The interviewees must not only offer suggestions on how to improve race relations but are also expected to participate in the efforts they suggest. They are expected to offer their emotional and intellectual labor as raced subj ects and good citizens to advance the nation state towards a progressive and multiracial future. By only asking what the marginalized subject might do, the
165 question elides the work that must be done to change the communities and ideologies that are the sou rce of anti Muslim racism. Finally, the question, like earlier ones, defines the community of the interviewee in overly narrow ways as it references only ethnic and religious community. When one interviewee interprets the question contrarily to interviewe r expectations, and begins explaining what the broader American community might do to address racism directed at Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians after 9/11, she is corrected by the interviewer twice. When she is first asked the question, she asks that Ame in confusion, she is directed to speak about Egyptians (her ethnic background), Arabs, and Muslims. In other words, the question itself places the interviewees outside of the cultural boundaries of the nation that most of them claim for themselves. They may s peak for their ethnic and religious communities, but not on behalf of their national community. Continuing this line of questioning in which interviewees are asked for advice as to resolve the interviewees to speak specifically from their religious and ethnic identity, this question again suggests that Muslims have a particular insight on th e issue on terrorism. Collapsing the by default, insiders to both groups. Even though the interviewers are probably not suggesting that Islam is linked to terrorism, the q uestion implies that Muslims do have a special knowledge about terrorism and asks them to answer complex political and historical issues (of terrorism) that have
166 vexed government institutions and international policy advisors in many countries around the w orld I highlight the limitation s of these questions to show typical strictures within which the Muslim interviewees articulate their subject position and the conditions of their Othering. The questions were likely formulated with good intentions to give a platform to Muslim voices on a national stage, and to allow Muslims to intervene in on going national conversations about Muslims, terrorism, and American state policies. The interview questions are, however, embedded with many of the same racial ideologi es that interviewees have encountered elsewhere in their daily lives after 9/11. Even if MEMEAC, the organizing body for this project, is invested in studying the Arab and Muslim experience of 9/11, and the interviewers sometimes openly admit to being Arab Muslim, or both, the interviews adopt the coded rhetoric of suspicion and discursive projects that seek to represent the subaltern are again relevant here as she argues that constitution, mingling epistemic 22 She strongly implies that an attempt to define, distinguish, and study the subaltern group, to bring it into codified knowledge and to articulate its experiences (and suffering) in a hegemonic system, is itself marked by epistemic violence as the researcher is situated within that system. Ranjana Khanna, in her work on subal tern specters, frames this project of representing 22 Spivak is critical not only of British colonial interventions to give a voice to the natives, but also of native intellectual and constructs the subaltern against and in the shadow of the normative group (80).
167 necessarily betrayed as it enters the world of civil society. And it leaves something behind that cannot be accou racial and cultural difference and the price paid for joining civil society, which forms the kernel of melancholia. When the subaltern group does enter the symbolic realm, it can no longer be considered subaltern because its difference is now legible within normative discourse. In order to achieve representation, it must leave behind that inassimilable difference which defines subalternity. The precise nature of this loss is unknow n to the subject, but it is constituted of that nation state and thus, becomes excised and held within the psyche. That excised difference can neither be re surrected easily (as it is not tolerated in the dominant public sphere) nor can it be entirely buried in the unconscious (as it is a loss that the subject cannot abandon). Rather, it is held in abeyance as the melancholic kernel, and when it is dredged up by turbulent events like 9/11, it threatens the psychic coherence of the subject. The once subaltern carries a fragmented, melancholic self into civil society to achieve representation ciety is a violent act, and continued inhabitance within that civil society is only possible when that kernel of intractable difference remains bur ied in the psyche. In Chapter 2 on The Domestic Crusaders I traced this entry of the subaltern subject into civil society through the call to self mutilation, by which Muslims are expected to repress that racial difference which has been coded as a threat by the nation state. In the case of Muslims speaking in the digital archive, their inassimilable difference is offset when they articulate their solidarity with the nation state, attempting to substitute that racial and ethnic difference with claims to Americanness cultural values.
168 The MEMEAC interviews with their problematic questions and intention of presenti ng a the Muslim voice in relation to a national trauma that identities Muslims despite possible intentions of the interviewers as indissolubly linked, in the cultural imaginary, to the agents of trauma, perpetuates epistemic violence against the subaltern in order to bring their experiences to the attention of the general public. Even though the interviews are intended to highlight the troubling encounters of Muslims with racism and xenophobia after 9/11, and to ensure that American narratives of 9/11 incorporate the Muslim voice, they reinscribe a limited epistemic frame within which Muslims are knowable to civil society. In narrating their experiences, the in terviewees navigate between the desire to speak candidly in critique of American racism (as urged by the interviewers) and to express those normative behaviors attributed to good Muslims. It is here that the limits of melancholic testimony become apparent: minority citizens aggrieved by racial violence are allowed to articulate their encounters with racism and the profound losses that result, but the subjects are expected to ultimately cap and put away these losses. These losses are not allowed to become th e basis for political aspirations, material restitution, or legal rights for the dispossessed in these interviews and beyond them. These melancholic losses are the result of that inassimilable racial difference that the subaltern subject must shed to enter civil society, and are attended by ensuing feelings of frustration, despair, dissatisfaction, helplessness, and a lack of self worth. While a number of the interviewees openly declare the circumstances of their exclusion from the nation state, the intervi ewed subjects are also careful in stating that they are Americans, and support American ideals and institutions in some manner. Interview 10, conducted with a 38 year old Egyptian American, exemplifies the balancing act that Arabs and Muslims perform.
169 This individual, who self identified as Arab and Muslim, and served in the U.S. armed forces, discussed a lifelong struggle to reconcile his difference with the expectations of dominant civil society. He mentions that he experienced bigotry as a young man, and e racist encounters cultivated a lack of self worth, and his failure to belong, to assimilate is pathologized as a disease that is caused by his own actions. The psychic cost of racism continues to acc rue; after 9/11, the interviewee reports feeling deepl y ashamed and guilty about being of Egyptian descent because many of the terrorists were (Interview 10, pg 5). As Fanon once put this, when confronted with the scrutiny of the white e of, and must answer to all the collected characterizations, ideologies, misconceptions of that race. Interpellated into normative American racial ideologies about Muslims and Arabs, the Egyptian American interviewee struggles to value his religious and e thnic identity. He feels so acutely ashamed of his ethnic background that he tries to dissociate himself from all Arabs by telling the interviewers that he nationa ls and Arab Americans; that the terrorists were not Arab feels a deep ambivalence about the worth of his ethnic and religious identity, and this worth is constantly evaluated and weighed against dominant social expectations.
170 While most interviewees do dissociate themselves from terrorism, this particular respondent disavows himself from Arabs entirely, and implicitly affirms public perceptions linking Muslims to terrorism. Disidentification becomes a means for the interviewee to separate himself from the suspect population. And although he affirms his Muslim identity at the beginning of the interview, he believes that the best way to talk to Americans about the issues affecting Arab Americans is by not invoking religion. He tel ls the interviewer that Americans Arab organizations work on improving awareness of Islam among Americans, they must be terview 10). These statements reveal his continuing ambivalence about his ethnic and religious identity, to the extent of devaluing facets of his own subjectivity. The interviewee has made a conscious decision to disavow, underemphasize, and bury those mar kers of his identity which render him as Muslim in the racial imaginary of the repr oach stems from the fact that the melancholic assumes the loss of the beloved object into himself, and finds that his ego is diminished and impoverished by the loss. Given the testimony of this interviewee thus far, it is also apparent that he perceives t hat his religious and racial identity has been degraded through comparison with dominant racial ly inflected and enforced norms, and he internalizes that subordination and reproduces it by underemphasizing his Muslimness. In the earlier analysis of The Dome stic Crusaders I traced a similar process of racial interpellation when Salman, the Pakistani American protagonist who performs the part of the good Muslim, tones down his geopolitical and racial identity because he believes that this will encourage his c o workers to accept him. As both these Muslim subjects
171 recognize that being Muslim codes them as threatening subjects, they take conciliatory measures to defang that threat by accepting a subordinate position in the racial hierarchy. Thus, in the case of t he Egyptian American interviewee, his anticipation of being cast out of the national imaginary is prophetic. A cycle of self denigration is set in motion by his early and continuing encounters with racism: these encounters left him questioning his value as a racialized subject, and yet, he is not fully accepted by civil society even when he underplays racial and religious identity, which he believes is the cause of his alienation from civil society. Most of his racist encounters after 9/11 occur while he i s wearing his service uniform, and this shocks him further as he believes the uniform, a nationalist display, demonstrates his ultimate faith in the American nation, and his willingness to sacrifice his life for American ideals. Despite the valorization of the citizen heroes of 9/11, and of American soldiers in public discourse (before and after 9/11), Muslims who falls into one or both of these categories are still set outside the category of an American hero. Even the presence of a military uniform does n ot the question of what the marginalized subject must do to achieve recognition and belonging. He even passionately tells the interviewers that the highest honor for Although the interviewee does not comment on his initial decision to join the military, his actions are exemplary of a form of sublimation. Freud writes of sublimation as a displacement of 58) In the process of sublimation, a libidinal attachment to a non normative desire or object is transferred into a socially acceptable
172 one. As the non normative desire or object cannot be achieved, this transference enables the subject to gain at least some satisfaction through the possession of the new ideal. In the denigration and loss of worth are shifted into military service, a career that places great value on the civilian who accepts his potential sacrifice for the cause of the nation state, and simultaneously suggests that an individual life is dispensable (but for an apparent greater good). Instead of acting his frustrations upon the American state or society for being excluded and divested of cultural belonging a nd legal protections, he assumes an identification with the nation state to both, demonstrate his value as a citizen and soldier as well as to channel his frustrations into a more socially acceptable way (in protecting the nation state. Like many of the ot her interviewees, he repeatedly demonstrates his loyalty and claims to American values. After 9/11, he reports several incidents where he experienced racism, at restaurants, airports, and other public places. Most of these incidents reference moments when a racist statement about Arabs or Muslims was directed at the interviewee. These incidents shock 0). He expresses disbelief that prejudice would be directed at a fellow American citizen. Arab and Muslim Americans, he further suggests were doubly victimized after 9/11: first as Americans who experienced a national trauma, and second as a minority group that experienced racism. The grounds for inclusion to the nation state are premised on emphasizing so called American values and minimizing those markers of difference that have set the subject outside the bounds of the nation. This interviewee says in c Americans are like anyone
173 rhetoric of sameness and normality aligns Arab Americans with an unmarked, deracialized, and normative group of Americans who have access to freedoms and rights in the country, and shies away from connections to other racialized groups in the United States who expe rience systemic expressing a normative American identity rather than articulating a raced identity, or political aspirations based on that raced subjectivity 23 Wha t is made visible in this interview is a negotiation, by the dispossessed subject, for reentry into the bounds of the nation state after 9/11. Other interviews show a similar negotiation underway. Interviewee 12, a 27 year old female who was studying in t he United States, and identified as Palestinian American and Muslim, was very critical of the racial profiling of Middle Easterners in the country, and argued that, immigrants to emigrate to the United States, she answers emphaticall y in the positive. She tells material and psychic cost s of racism are mitigated even now by the promise of economic and personal opportunity in America. Those costs become acceptable, and part of the immigrant struggles to advance oneself so that the latter promises can be kept. The tempered critiques in thes e interviews speak to the ongoing process of repression of the lost object, which is the loss of belonging to the adopted homeland, that the melancholic 23 to the established order of the nation state (Regulating Aversion 46).
174 subject must continually sustain. In both of these interviews thus far, the marginalized subject reiter ates a desire to stay in America and find cultural acceptance within the bounds of the nation. Even this Palestinian American interviewee, who does not feel altogether at home in the United States anymore, has decided to continue making her life here rathe r than returning to her country of country. By tempering their critique of American policies about Muslim (as this Palestinian American interviewee does) or toning down their Muslimness (as the earlier Egyptian American interviewee did), the racial subject s acknowledge their marginalization but continue to assert that their imagined America is still or can still be, a land of opportunity for raced subjects. This indicates an incomplete process of repression: the interviewees are conscious of being pushed ou t of the socio political imaginary of the nation state, but express hope that they will be accepted if they make normative, conciliatory gestures. The interviewees are keenly aware of the potential for racial violence they face in order to continue living in America. Interviewee 7 offers a particularly poignant account of how this racial violence affects not only Arab and Muslim adults, but very young children who are then also shaped by their encounters with a racist system. This interviewee, an Egyptian American impact of post 9/11 racial politics occurs in his youn and questi weapon to be wielded against Arabs and Muslims, and it is used indiscriminately, even applied to a young boy. The man admits that his son was in a physical fight with o ther students but
175 believes that his son was unfairly singled out for punishment, and eventually transfers his son to a public school where he performs well academically. He tells the interviewer that such incidents, and the overarching atmosphere of parano ia in the country makes children insecure. rview 7). Such reassurances, particularly of national belonging The Egyptian American man is baffled by the racial violence directed at his family after 9/11. He notes that he ha s adopted American values, follows American laws (both legal and symbolic), and yet he is Othered after 9/11. He expla ins: and individualism: each individual carves out a path to success through hard work. This Egyptian American man, as well as the earlier one in Interview 10 are especially disappointed about their treatment in America because they believe that they have performed the necessary gestures to be worthy citizens: paying taxes, raising their children well, fighting for their country (in the case of the earlier interviewee). Both men, as do many of the interviewees, believe that they have earned the right to be American citizens and to enjoy the rights and freedoms granted by law to American citizens. Moreover, they have both expressed a love for their adopted homeland that transcends their feelings for the homeland of their parents. Immigrants take a necessary risk in emigrating by abandoning the protective national ambit of their homeland, and aspiring to belong
176 to a new homeland. In doing so, national and cultural belonging becomes an ideal that the immigrant must achieve for their economic security, and social and psychic well being. Eng and Han, who theorize the emergence of racial melancholia in immigrants, write that the loss of this ideal manifests in a feeling of emptiness within the melancholic subject because the libidinal sacrifice (of the ancestral homeland) is not recuperated through new attachments to their adopted homeland (351, 354). Despite their treatment in America after 9/11, the interviewees repeatedly temper their critique of America and express an unwillingness to return to the homeland of their parents. Interview 20 was conducted with a 26 year old female of Lebanese descent who had lived in London, Nigeria, and Lebanon. As an individual who claimed Druze as her religion, her interview was one of the few in which the interviewed person claimed an Arab ethnicity but did not identify as Muslim. Unlike the earlier interviewee, she refuses to feel guilty for the atta cks, 9/11, she anticipates, correctly so, that her friends and classmates will turn to her, as an ethnic insider, for the Middle Eastern perspective on 9/11. While she felt at home in the U.S. before professional aspirations as an artist also suffer: she is criticized for her artwork depicting 9/11, She observes too that other Arab Americans have been mitigating that risk in their own lives by rying to Her critique of American foreign policy, while sharp, is also tempered. For instance, she
177 Muslims and Arabs in the Middle East are jealous of the American lifestyle, as other interviewees have suggested, she makes a contrary case by arguing that youth in Middle Eastern 0). The interviewee equates American values to American material goods, both part of the global capitalist trade and both in vogue in Lebanon. The consumption of American values and goods normalizes Lebanese youth as it paints them as young, urban, fashion able people who buy into the logics of capitalism and American empire. The interviewee eerily anticipates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be justified, at least partially, under the benevolent banner of democracy, to free oppressed people in tho se countries, and she preemptively aligns the Lebanese people with precisely those values (freedom, free speech) crucial to a democracy. In describing the purported values of Lebanese youth for the American people, this interviewee occupies the position o f the ethnic insider who soothes racial fears by interpreting the difference of the threatening native in the discourse of Western modernity. Her image of the Lebanese people combats the dominant perception of Muslim Rage (at America) that has become the s tereotypical manner of looking at Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East, and frames Lebanese youth as not too dissimilar from American youth. This curbing of the threat of the racial native is diametrically opposed to the act of the ethnic insider that Mohs The Reluctant Fundamentalist undermines the role of the ethnic insider by constantly making his American interlocutor uncomfortable and angry. Instead of soothing racial fears, he stages a n excess of racial difference
178 and then challenges the American on his discomfort in this encounter. The Lebanese American interviewee instead adopts a conciliatory strategy to make a case for Middle Eastern youth as harmless subjects who are invested in th e same capitalist and civilizational values that American values. These four selected interviews exemplify a broader pattern in the MEMEAC interviews. Within the ideological framework of the MEMEAC interviews, and the broader September 11 Digital Archive, Muslims become legible as victims of a notional national trauma by claiming an American(ized) subject position. In doing so, these interviews highlight the limits of melancholic testimony in the nationalist historiography of 9/11 being created in the Septe mber 11 Digital Archive. In the post 9/11 moment, it has become increasingly common for Muslims to be called upon to reject terrorism, denounce terrorist acts, and reaffirm their American values. The Muslim interviewees affirm their Americanness, and their solidarity with other American subjects in this crisis of national trauma. Many of the interviewees reiterate their love for New York, for America, and for American values. These claims to Americanness are judiciously made to protect the vulnerable subjec t who is evicted from the protective bounds of the nation state for failing to have a normative identity. Having faced racist systems and racialized situations before, the interviewees have learned to identify social and cultural expectations of Muslims, a nd know how to navigate these expectations to ensure their own well being and safety. Their claims to Americanness are made judiciously to protect their vulnerable position in civil society and ensure that their complaints about racial violence will be tak en seriously in the public sphere. In several cases, the interviewees go so far as to minimize the racial violence they have experienced, and in most interviews, the interviewees uphold American values to establish themselves as good citizens. Such claim s to Americanness, as much as they rely on normative
179 values and behaviors, are denied to the subaltern, but they are possible for the once subaltern that has left behind its inassimilable and un American Otherness. In other words, even when alterity is int roduced in this digital archive, its essential strangeness is ameliorated because the subject that enters representation is not, cannot be, the subaltern. The melancholic subject is placed in a bind here: the subaltern enters civil society and achieves rep resentation by leaving behind the inassimilable difference that constitutes subalternity. Each interviewee, however, expresses disappointment because their adoption of American values and ideologies has in the wake of 9/11, been shown to have not paved th e way for their acceptance in civil society. Instead, the abandoned kernel comes to form the core of a melancholic subjectivity of the racialized minority. The melancholic subject is a subversive one, even unwittingly so. Even though this subject does not know what has been lost, that kernel of melancholia, of inassimilable difference, poses a threat to the homogeneity and coherence of the nation state as it contains the potential to disrupt accepted racial ideologies. That is precisely why the identity and political aspirations of the raced subject must be monitored and controlled, and why the subject is tolerated in liberal projects and spaces. In these MEMEAC interviews, the interviewees are asked to reflect on the melancholic losses they have sustained. These are losses accrued not only due to the initial entry of the subaltern subject into civil society, but also result from a continued failure to assimilate, to belong within the cultural bounds of America. However, the goal of the interviews, as they fi t into the emergent nationalist historiography of 9/11 in the September 11 Digital Archive, is not to discuss the racial wounds of Arabs and Muslims. The losses are evoked, narrated, and then the melancholic subject is expected to put them away. The rigid structuring of the interview pushes the interviewees to substitute their losses with the losses suffered by the nation state in a
180 subsumption of hegemonic needs into the privatized life of minority citizens, and to prioritize the recuperation of national v ulnerabilities as part of their contract to the nation state. Nonetheless, continuing to demonstrate their goodwill towards America, and fulfilling social expectations of Muslim and Arab citizens, the interviewees allow themselves to be led through the int erviews. This nationalist historiography of 9/11 cannot make space for Arabs and Muslims to express political aspirations and to seek justice for their racial wounds. Inevitably, as 9/11 is centered, the archive also effaces the ways in which marginalized subjects experienced alienation and racial oppression prior to 9/11, and encourages the view that post 9/11 Othering is a temporal and temporary aberration rather than a historical and systemic problem 24 While some of the interview questions do touch on th e experience of racial minorities before 9/11, this historicization is not explored in any substantial detail, and the interview questions instill 9/11 as a schismatic event, the temporal border at which Muslims and Arabs were evicted from the socio politi cal realm of the nation state. The reader must be careful to not give in to a nostalgia for a time before 9/11 under the belief that the nation state accepted its racialized minority subj ects before that temporal divide While 9/11 was certainly a critical moment that drastically mobilized anti Muslim ideologies, these ideologies already existed in the United States. The MEMEAC interviews tell a partial story of the Arab and Muslim experience, and the reader must be careful to read for silences and erasures in the presented narratives. In constructing and centering the narrative of 9/11 as a national trauma (and the attached mythologization of citizen heroes), the digital archive constricts the melancholic testimonies of 24 a historical understanding of the attacks, this goal does not me an that the archive presents historical nuance or critical debate about the attacks (About page). The few chronologies listed in the archive begin with the hijacking of the planes, or in the recent past with the planning that went into the attacks. This in ability to grapple with longer and complicated histories in the Middle East is problematic as it fosters a historical amnesia.
181 Arabs and Muslims. The archive is hea vily invested in that particular nationalist history of 9/11: it consolidates the documents needed to assemble the narrative while simultaneously codifying that narrative. In other words, the archive does not simply re produce existing narratives. Rather, it codifies and naturalizes selected narratives. The archive functions as a memorial to 9/11 and to those who lost their lives in the attacks. Trauma narratives, as I have noted before, necessarily 9/11 context, the problem revolves around the exclusions which are incipient to that term in the case of 9/11. Once trauma becomes the dominant narrative to understand 9/11, the nation state is cast as an aggrieved victim, and the raced subject w ho critiques national policies must constantly reassure that such critique is neither disrespectful to the families who lost loved ones in the attacks nor does it condone the attacks. The trauma narrative does not encourage critique of the victim. In the c ase of 9/11, this can encourage a dangerous historical amnesia, reject any reflection on the nation The nation state might certainly have been attacked, but it cannot be constructed purely as a In the post 9/11 context, Muslims and Arabs who experienced racism and prejudice could the terrorists an d perpetrators of 9/11. The interviewees in the MEMEAC interview highlight violence. The interviewees express their victimhood only by showing their American a llegiances, and proving their worth as respectable and good Muslims. Moreover, bearing witness to a domestic and national tragedy assumes more importance than challenging the nation state at this moment of perceived vulnerability. In the digital archive th is means that
182 testimonies of experiencing racism are eventually subsumed and marginalized by the sheer volume of testimonies memorializing 9/11. The digital archive cannot support the conflicting tendencies of a memorial space and the needs of a critical a nd self reflexive space as a memorial, by definition, forestalls critique. The MEMEAC interviewees articulate their testimony within these tensions, and the limitations of an emergent nationalist history of 9/11. Even within these limitations, however, the interviewees demonstrate the tenuous processes and gestures, of claiming American values, of demonstrating loyalty to the American nation state, and of disassociation from terrorism and terrorists, through which the vulnerable subject seeks re entry into the shared imaginary of the nation state
183 CHAPTER 5 THE TRANSNATIONAL VISIONS OF MELANCHOLIC PROPHECY Madness and Prophecy The Reluctant Fundamentalist exhorts the American st ranger as the two sit down to share a meal in Lahore (Hamid 123). This stranger, who is denied the privilege of speaking in the novel, is the silent interlocutor at whom Changez directs his melancholic testimony. By asking the American man to dirty his han ds, Changez implicates him in the post 9/11 racial projects of American empire, and encourages him to interrogate the implications of that complicity. This self reflexive project can be undertaken, Changez suggests, once the man has consumed Lahori cuisine and his melancholic testimony, a doubled encounter with difference. In this C hapter, I focus on the transnational melancholic consciousness cultivated by Changez, a Pakistani man who adopts and later rejects the privileging of whiteness and American power in global capitalist networks, in The Reluctant Fundamentalist linking of fundamentalism to religious (and specifically Islamist) terror by constructing the alternative threat of an American capital ist fundamentalism. Masquerading as an apolitical, deracialized, and de terri torialized global circuit, this predatory capitalism interpellates third world citizens as racial labor, subjugating and producing them as model minorities and annexing their servi ces to do the work of (the American) empire. American imperialism as it manifests in the War on Terror and global capitalism. Scanlan writes American exceptionalism and return to Pakistan to speak back to empire (Scanlan 277). This
184 Samson (o who stand in for American exceptionalism and the lure of the American Dream. Hartnell draws ut multiculturalism (Hartnell 345). The novel, she suggests, investigates how American capitalism is raced and challenges the notion of a color blind meritocracy (345). Through these critiques of American imperialism and capitalism, the novel, Morey argues, forces a deterritorialized American with its cultural difference. itorial function and spatial terrain of melancholia, in other words, those psychic, geographical, and social spaces which first shape Changez as a acquiescent subject of American imperialism and transnational capitalism and from which his testimony later mounts a nationalist resistance. The geopolitical nature of this terrain spans from New York, where Changez is interpellate d into American economic values, through the Philippines and Chile, whe re his melancholic consumption of whiteness comes to an end, and finally to Lahore, where i nitial desire to possess whiteness is embodied in his relationship with Erica as the two form a substituting for a loss that the other has experienced. In the post 9/11 moment, however,
185 Changez resists the cultural nostalgia for American exceptionalism, and returns to Pakistan to articulate a cultural and economic nationalism that challenges American racial and imperial ideologies. I show that by forcing the unn amed American to come to him in a postcolonial Muslim nation, Changez shifts the locus of power and constructs a subaltern space of enunciation where American empire confronts its racial Others. Enacting a reversal of the fantasy of incorporation, Changez, the former model minority subject, exhumes the lost object of his melancholia and compels it upon the American in the form of his candid melancholic testimony. Contaminating the normative subject with its alterity and critique of American empire, this tes timony pushes the American towards a political responsibility for the consequences of American actions in Pakistan and Afghanistan during the War on Terror. It is in this reversed fantasy of incorporation that I locate the productive potential of practice of transnational melancholic citizenship. The transnational melancholic outlook that Changez cultivates takes a specific nationalist turn because it seeks to redress the effects of predatory capitalism and globalization on the peripheries of the American empire. Changez returns to Pakistan as a nationalist having rejected the claims of American imperial ideologies and global capitalist ambitions. I read the visit of the unnamed American to Changez as an attempt to bring Changez back into the circu its of transnational capitalism and American racial ideologies. In The Domestic Crusaders I suggested that the good Muslim subject incorporates whiteness and upholds the dominant racial order. In this C hapter, I go further and argue that the American empi re requires its racial subjects to accept their interpellation because it consumes the racial body and labor of the ethnic Other to sustain itself. Changez entertains this hegemonic desire by staging a feast of Otherness, a rich display of Lahori cuisine t hat he exhorts
186 the American man to eat. Yet, this is ultimately an empty consumption, as the American man v isions and attracts an audience which is simultaneously intrigued by the prophet and also considers him prone to madness, my analysis frames Changez as a melancholic prophet who attracts and repulses his American melancholic counterparts (Fldnyi 24). Eri ca and the American man complete the love hate dyad that characterizes the response of American story even when that story disturbs and angers him, suggesting a n ambivalent desire for the racial Other. This framing of the melancholic subject as a prophet might appear to be at odds with my earlier definition (in Chapter 2 on The Domestic Crusaders ) of the raced melancholic as living specter who haunts the nation s tate with evidence of its histories of racial oppression. While the specter carries the force of the past, the prophet looks forward and outside the dominant order. In The Domestic Crusaders the Pakistani Muslim family strives to locate an alternate polit ical subjectivity within the American national context. The frame of melancholic prophecy is better suited to Changez, however, because he has removed himself from the national, racial, a nd ideological reach of America 1 While he speaks from the site of a melancholic wound, he transcends its shame and self denigration by substituting the racial ideologies of American with a 1 Although Changez appears to be more successful in rooting his anti imperial resistance in his melancholic condition, I do not suggest that it is necessary to leave America and stay in the developing world for a more productive engagement with melancholia. Hamid frames Changez as a postcolonial native and a citizen of Pakistan while Ali, in The Domestic Crusaders, insists on his c haracters inhabiting American citizenship and articulating the American state, a coercive phenomenon in which the state rejects their cultura l and legal claims to citizenship and links them instead to external (and frequently) enemy nations (Chuh 94). I do not wish to reproduce this
187 cultural and economic nationalism that is invested in advancing the economic and social interests of the postcolonial state. Fldnyi draws the idea that the melancholic subject is a prophetic one from the Greek ia as a transgressive condition in which the purported madness of the melancholic implied that the melancholic had accessed some special truth about existence (257). As the Greeks believed that melancholia was caused by excessive bile, the melancholic subj ect was perceived to be lia was to bring the melancholic within reason, order, and hegemony (69). Having transgressed the order, the melancholic rejects any solution that places him within a finite world and order. The melancholic prophet does not place himself outside the world, even if he is excluded from it. Fldnyi a lso writes that s futurity attest to the capacity of the melancholic prophet to speak the truth of current systems and ideologies, and to accurately diagnose existing social a nd racial issues. The melancholic prophet focuses on how one is today, rather than how one could be tomorrow. In The Reluctant
188 Fundamentalist Changez himself admits to acting like a madman at a high point of crisis, noting motional madman, flying into rages and sinking into Of all the works I discuss in this dissertation, it is only in this one that the protagonist is diagnosed a s a melancholic subject within the diegetic world of the novel (175). The transgressive nature of the melancholic prophet and his refusal to return to reason and order ondition that gives him a different perspective on the effects of American capitalism on the developing world The Intimate Lives of Melancholic Subjects Narrated in the form of a monologue, The Reluctant Fundamentalist allows Changez to feed his tale of p olitical awakening to an unnamed American in the course of a meal the two later as an analyst at a prestigious valuations firm called Underwood Samson. Drive n by cultural assimilate are symbolized by his failed relationship with Erica, a white woman whose temporary acquaintance allows him to benefit from the privile incorporation of whiteness is disrupted, however, by 9/11, as he finds that his newly racialized subject position liberates him from the artifice of the model minority. In the transformed racial economy, Changez incr easingly rejects his social aspirations and racial performance in the global capitalist network, until he decides to return to Pakistan to teach and educate Pakistani youth. The American who is his interlocutor is never allowed to speak in the novel, and his Whether the American is a spy, businessman, journalist, or tourist is never clarified in the novel.
189 he has a muscled chest and cropped hair like that of an athlete or soldier, that he is nervous about the foods that Changez orders for them (and has to be reassured that the food is not poisoned or will not cause any ailments), and that he gets regularly timed phone calls that check on him. In his retelling of this story to this unnamed American, Changez speaks from his melancholic wounds, but having rejected the fantasy of incorporation, he is not given to the self denigration or shame that affects the me lancholic subject. As much as the American is nebulously drawn in the novel, Hamid also declines to give the reader a confirmation of whether Changez has actually turned to extremism While me lancholic incorporation has generally been framed as an unconscious process, with the melancholic subject unaware of what precisely he has lost, Changez overturns these conventions to a great degree. He is all too conscious of his losses, but he delays mou rning for them because he believes he can recuperate these losses by temporarily and strategically claiming whiteness. Unlike Salman (in The Domestic Crusaders ), who adopts the persona of the model minority and denies that his racial difference has been ex cised (at least until the disruptive moment of 9/11), Hamid suggests that Changez is aware of the artifice of that persona. Such a melancholic incorporation of whiteness is predicated on a fantasy of the return of the lost object; in other words, Changez b elieves that he can slough off that artifice once he has restored the lost glory of his family. This belief as well as his ties to his hidden cultural roots, are expressed again in the metaphor of food. At one point, Changez tells his American interlocutor that his American the city of my birth, steeped long enough to acquire a rich, dark color, and made creamy with fresh, full rth is evoked and remembered in the sensory and
190 cultural registers of tea. Like the tea, Changez has been steeped too long in the city, and shaped too much by it to ever forget it completely. national identity, an intent which masks his true interest in possessing whiteness and the race and class privileges of whiteness. During his time as a student in Princeton and as an analyst at Underwood Samson in New York, Changez deliberately invests in this melancholic incorporation to replace the lost ascendance of the 11). Increasing inflation, and the declining size of the family holdings, as they are divided amongst subsequent generations, ensures that the family gradually loses its class standing. In this early stage of his development, Changez links the fates of the postcolonial elite and the nation state as the decline of the former is mirrored in that of the latter. The rich cultural heritage of Lahore now seems like a relic of the past to him, especially compared to the trappings of Western modern ity in America. In this decline of the postcolonial elites in Pakistan, Changez also outlines a disappointment that the promise of the postcolonial nation has not been realized for its people, but especially for its old aristocracy. The fall of this Pakis tani aristocracy comes to reflect the decline of the nation and its inability to hold its own in in international politics and the global market. Confronted by this reality of his changed circumstances, Changez decides that he has pro
191 capitalism which promise economic opportunity to a select few (11). Having already begun the process of erasing his shameful, impoverished background, he is further assu red by Jim that his When he moves to New York to work for Underwood Samson, Changez quickly embraces the modernity of New York as a replacement for the antiquated relics of Lahore. so unexpectedly goes so far as to recast New York as the Lahore of the West. In this te mporal and spatial reversal, Changez draws attention to the economic decline of Lahore while also implying that the cultural and material wealth of New York is not unprecedented and was once enjoyed by cities in the Global South before they were struck by the ravages of colonialism. In New York, Changez least before 9/11, seems to bring him relative protection from private racism. While he cannot pass for whi te or enjoy the privileges of whiteness, neither is he mistaken as a black man or suffer from the systemic racism which affects black lives. As he has not yet been able to perceive the truth of his own interpellation within the American racial order, Chang ez lacks an informed perspective on race relations in America. Thus while he believes that his brownness is unremarkable in New York, his description of the city makes it clear that brown men generally constitute a lower socio economic class of workers (as cab drivers, deli owners and manual workers) who provide services for the global elite who live in New York. The Urdu spoken by cab drivers in New York, the samosa and channa serving deli, and the music from Lahore playing on Fifth Avenue signal New Yor k as a space that can (perhaps temporarily) take the place of home. In noticing and claiming these signs, Changez indicates his
192 stubborn hold on his cultural and racial difference, despite the attempts of Underwood Samson to ease him into a deracialized id entity. Changez himself participates in their racial agenda, however, when he declares, charmed by the multicultural ethic of the city, that while he was immediately city is a (The savoir faire he exudes in New York is later replicated in Lahore, where he offers to act as a native guide so the unnamed American can experience Lahore.) This substitution of New York for Lahore is never complete though, as the melancholic Changez holds on to the fantasy of a Lahore that preserves its rich cultural heritage and will (in his futurist vision) compete with New York as a global city. Although Chang ez is aware of this incomplete project of substitution, New York for to the promised equality and freedoms afforded to the model minority. At Underwood Sam son, he underplays his cultural background to better fit into their deracialized corporate ethic, only sharing his roots with another intern of color when the two go out to eat Pakistani food. He understands, however, the value of commodifying his differen ce, having recognized that the British English he acquired in Pakistan signals a class status that appeals to their clientele. His respect in a hierarchical iant rather than irascible racial minority and his supervisors Changez, an all consuming ambition for a place in the upper echelons of transnational capitalism bu t while firmly entrenched in American systems of power (44). 2 It is in New York that he buries 2 Ham neoliberal philosophy, in that Underwood Samson makes a strong case for a class of global elites, who act separately
193 the loss of a glorious cultural and familial past by aspiring to a denationalized and deracialized identity. Saskia Sassen has argued that the network of global cities which control the flows of the notion of citizenship tied to a nation state (Sassen xx). These transnational actors find a shared identity and feel a sen se of belonging to the denationalized space of the global city. subjects align themselves with cities or states based on economic opportunities rather than polit ical rights or cultural belonging (Ong 6). It is crucial to remember though that global cities maintain a geopolitical rootedness, and they are not disassociated from the larger socio political context of the nation state they are grounded in. Thus, the de nationalized and deracialized identity that Changez adopts at Underwood Samson and in New York is undergirded by American racial ideologies, a point that Changez understands better after 9/11. By accepting his interpellation as a model minority in line wit h these ideologies, Changez agrees to a racial performance, to serve as the ethnic Other to the American self in all the psychic, social, and political implications of that performance. Although Changez believes that this performance is temporary, he under estimates the lures of whiteness, the promise of being part of the socioeconomic elite class denied to him in Lahore, and he finds himself seduced by that promise, both at Underwood Samson and later in from national identities, and i ntervene in international markets. Entrepreneurship, competition, and ambition are favored and rewarded in this economy. I venture away from framing the novel entirely in the terms of a neoliberalism however, because neoliberal economies envision a limited role for the nation state. As Harvey writes, Yet, state interventions in the free market are discouraged and the state is expected to cede to private enterprise. Changez rejects this weakening of the state in the novel by construing predatory transnational capitalism as a specific project of the Amer ican empire to advance itself by limiting the growth of nations in the Global South.
194 his relationship with Erica. Underwood Samson, in part icular, offers him a chance to reclaim not only material wealth and its attendant lifestyle but also the respect and mobility afforded to American cosmopolitan and global elites. His internalization of whiteness rather than a denationalized or deracialized identity, is made apparent when he travels with his colleagues for a valuation assignment in the Philippines. Expecting to find Manila to be like Lahore, a city with a rich cultural past but lacking in signs of Western modernity, Changez is shocked to fin d a place mbarrassed, he abruptly begins to adopts the demanding and patroni zing persona that his American colleagues embody. And although he is also ashamed of his actions, he understands that their Filipino officer class of global busi Changez to the Philippines, Hamid allows him to see the continuing cultural and neocolonial influence that America holds in its former colony. The American firm has been invited to evaluat e a Filipino business, and its recommendations will likely affect Filipino workers if business cuts are recommended. Changez also notices that the white American colleagues that accompany him on the trip are treated well by their Filipino colleagues while he struggles to find the same acceptance. Not yet unwilling to engage with the scope and impact of the present day American empire, Changez instead abandons the denationalized identity that he claimed to aspire
195 to and adopts the persona of a white American businessman when the former fails to bring him the respect and recognition that he yearns for. Hamid suggests, however, that as much as Changez strives to incorporate whiteness, he is in turn possessed by Underwood Samson and Erica, figures that stand in for America, in a mutually constitutive melancholia. The need of whiteness to incorporate its racial Other is expressed early in the novel when Changez talks about the recruitment of Princeton students. desire for the Other, Chang ez is inscribed in a feminized and sexualized discourse as the object of national racial fantasies. The psycho sexual metaphor of the breast also evokes a maternal nurturing, allowing the nation to feed upon the racial Other as it is the objectified body o f the Other which sustains the nation hegemonic order. By feeding upon the racial, postcolonial Other, rather than feeding it, the American empire thwarts the threat of ascendant Third World nati ons. This state, whereby the racial Other is both an object of desire and a threat, incorporated by the dominant order but never fully assimilated, is the paradigmatic melancholic condition of the normative white America. As I noted in the Introduction, A nne Anlin Cheng observes that national, white melancholia engenders th e melancholia of the racial Other, who is placed in a possible
196 melancholic incorporation, each seeking to consume the other in order to cover up vulnerabilities, and fill in losses and absences. The hunger that Changez acquires for American imperial power finds itself mirrored in the desire of that dominant order for his racial difference. Comm ayground where members of dominating races, genders, sexual practices affirm their power over in intimate relations with Thus, through his interpellation as racial labor at Underwood Samson, Changez turns into a subjugated model minority and is made complicit in the predatory projects of American transnational capitalism, first in the Philippines and later in Chile. This process of incorporation being apolitical, making an undelivered promise of equality of access, material wealth, and social and racial prestige. Changez eventually comes to understand his interpellation in militari zed military metaphors at a number of points in the novel, furthe r constructing the project of American capitalism as one of (global) conquest and the subjugation of postcolonial nations to its imperial agenda. This connection becomes more apparent to Changez later in his experience ature of this neocolonial American empire (157). Upon
197 serf The militarized, imperial, and racialized connections that Changez makes in the novel suggests the tenuous belonging that he finds in the United States. state, the commodified body of the racialized Muslim occupies a vulnerable position. It can be sacrificed when its utility has been fully consumed, or when the nation has moved on to a different mode of consumption that perceives that body as a threat. This latter facet is particularly true of the post 9/11 moment when his refusal to erase his racial difference causes upheaval in Underwood Samson. In his work on the constitution of Muslims as racial labor, Junaid Rana frames this racialization of Muslims as an attempt by nation states to monitor their global labor migra tions 3 nation states to control flows of labor migration in response to their own economic and cult ural within and to America can be curbed when these migrants are linked with criminality. Rana further suggests that both militants 3 torn areas, but his ideas on how Muslims are racialized in moments of national crisi capitalism in The Reluctant Fundamentalist I do want to note though that while there is a shared vulnerability based on race that links Changez and the low wage cab drivers he refers to earlier, h e does belong to a more privileged labor class and for a brief period, he is granted whatever fragile protection that status affords the minority subject.
198 expendable in the service of mi discovers, he has been recruited in to the service of an imperial power, as an indentured servant as we ll as a foot soldier in advancing capitalist schemes. Although his work receives high praise at Underwood Samson, the company owes him no loyalty and he is swiftly replaced for questioning the impact of their projects in the developing Third World. Momenta rily, however, before he comes to understand the nature of his interpellation, Changez believes that he can possess whiteness strategically, in order to recover the lost object of his melancholia (the lost grandeur of Lahore and his family), while he is po ssessed in turn by America to consolidate its global position of power. This mutual hunger and co constitution of melancholia is best exemplified by the failed relationship between Changez and Erica, a white American woman, who is locked into an unending m ourning of her dead white boyfriend. In the transposition of Erica as (Am)Erica, Hamid constructs a thinly veiled allegorical figure who state. Appropriately, the two meet on an alumni tr ip organized by a prestigious Princeton food club to Athens, the putative her, he is drawn to her and to the upper class circles she travels in (52). When he firs t visits her apartment, he immediately feels at home in the up scale locale, 51). Later, she takes him to an the chic heart of this city
199 recovers the social prestige his family has lost in Pak istan, and he makes no effort to resist the seductive pleasure of her white privilege, even if it is offered to him conditionally. His access to Although Erica keeps him at a distance during all their meetings, Changez is content with her sporadic and platonic touching, always believing that he has made some progress towards intimacy, and courting her with the ethnic difference (his polite defere nce and stories of Pakistan) that she admits to liking. diagnoses her melancholic condition when she explains why she has been unable to mail her finished book manuscript to publishers. She tells Changez, hold on to it for a little longer. (51). The consummate melancholic subject, Erica describes here the emptiness of the lost beloved, corpore alized in the empty belly, and expresses an unwillingness to part with it. The book she has written, worked out through the pain of an unending mourning, represents an attempt to work through melancholia, but she is unable to part with it. Like Changez, sh e is conscious of her loss but denies herself the introjection of that loss, even when it has been transformed from an irritant (the speck) to a potentially productive and ego expanding activity (the pearl). Instead, she draws Changez into her melancholic endeavor, filling the emptiness of ence ensures that Erica cannot confuse him for her dead lover, and
2 00 yet, for that very reason, his presence confronts her with the reminder of the loss she has suffered. As Changez disrupts the melancholic fantasy of possession (of the lost object), Erica i s drawn to incorporate him into her melancholic fantasies and simultaneously rejects him because she cannot assimilate his difference. When Erica suffers a psychic breakdown after 9/11, the 4 (133). Other, might be understood as what Juliana Chang discusses as a nationa l fantasy of jouissance. 10). The possession of the racial Other brings the possibility of fulfillment, satisfaction, and pleasure otherwise denied to the dominant Self. This possession is, however, tinged with resentment because the racial Other is given an intrinsic capacity (of jouissance) which dominant subjects cannot have. In The Reluctant Fundamentalist Changez fosters this belief about the promise of the racial Other, even as Erica tries to find fulfillment in him, in place of her dead lover. 4 ancholic subject fails to find balance and order, and instead experiences a vacillation between extreme states (113). This fall from the order of the cosmos is most commonly interpreted as a form of madness as the melancholic expresses ideas that are not i her melancholia, even when her possessive hold becomes destructive. To some degree, Erica consciously worries about herself, knowing that her endless grieving is unhealthy and even wondering whether she is mad (Hamid 81). Yet, she is unable and unwilling to remove her attachment to her dead lover, and she eventually disappears from the clinic she has been admitted to, with a strong implicati on that she has committed suicide.
201 The novel traces the high po int of this mutual process of self denigration in two Changez und Changez stops when he enters her body and finds that she is entirely unaroused by him. Changez him that her sexuality remains wrapped up in the image of her dead lover, and she can only achieve orgasm by fantasizing about him, and Changez comforts her by allowing her to reminisce about Chris while they lie naked in bed. Their second attempt at love making is more disturbing yet, with Changez asking her to pretend she is with her dead lover so that she can find enjoyment in his him orgasm (105). becomes the psychosexual terrain on which the nation incorporation of racial Others is mapped. Her ambivalent desire for Changez, as a substitution for her dead lover, reflects a larger national melancholic condition which embodies contr adictory impulses to consume and expel the racial Other from itself. These impulses are strengthened after 9/11, when Erica yearns for the return of a white hero figure. On the one hand, her plight indicates that the nation is gripped by a powerful cultura l nostalgia for a time before it was made vulnerable. This nostalgia rejects the presence of the racial Other who brings evidence of loss, of a changing world and racial order beyond the control of American imperialism. (Am)Erica, Hamid implies, chooses no t to see its racial subjects, despite their desire to live and work within the nation, as equal partners to normative white subjects in building the future of the country. On the other hand, if jouissance is predicated on the excesses embodied by the racia l Other, then the
202 racial formation of the terrorist Muslim, a figure of excessive and irrational violence, promises even more sublime pleasure if that figure can be confronted or incorporated within the American imaginary. As this encounter between the emp ire and the terrorist cannot be staged in the romantic intimacy of the lovemaking that Changez and Erica undertake, it becomes articulated by empire in the destructive intimacy of war, an event that also rejuvenates the animosity between the two subjects a nd keeps them locked into violent cycles of melancholic incorporation. previously be for intimate encounter, Changez discovers the inhuman condition of her racial body. In locating the inhuman in her body, rather than his own, Changez undermines dominant norms which order that has denied him. The idealized body he seeks cannot h old up to the expectations he has cultivated, and the ensuing act of sex, a final attempt to reconcile with whiteness after 9/11, becomes coded as a traumatic event. Hamid offers the following imagery of this encounter: The entrance between her legs was wet and dilated, but was at the same time oddly rigid; it reminded me unwillingly of a wound, giving our sex a violent undertone despite the gentleness with which I attempted to move. More than once I smelled what I thought to be blood, but when I reac hed down to ascertain with my 106). This description of the vagina as a wound corporealizes the emptiness of the melancholic subject who seeks to fill the absence of the lost object with its substitute. Although the nov el makes clear that their intercourse is not an act of rape, there is an undeniable psychic violence
203 that both inflict on the other during this failed substitution. The stain of this encounter, although not visible in the blood Changez searches for, marks both, and eventually becomes one of the the loss she has suffered, and she compensates by withdrawing into herself, where her fantasy of possession (of the lost e encounter yields a traumatic pleasure, arrived at through an inhuman body and via the self denigration of his playacting, which makes him less than what he is. He remains unsure of his own reasons for this playacting, and he admits that to his American possessed but at the same time I did not this moment, is one that he has invited and assumed into his body, in the same manner in which he has internalized American norms to gain social prestige. 5 He plays the part of the dead white man, and even encourages Erica to participate in this playacting but eventually regrets the fantasy that the two have played out. In fulfi lling his fantasy of possessing whiteness, Changez discovers why a fantasy must sometimes remain such, unapproachable but sought after, desired but rejected by those protective defenses of the unconscious which recognize the traumatizing 5 pliance in the face of his non s ambiguous ending does not present a straightforward narrative of Changez as a fundamentalist, and I argue in the next section that the critique he articulates of American empire and the Lahori feast he sets up for the unnamed American both indicate that he has abandoned his fantasy of claiming whiteness. After returning to Pakistan, he adopts a strategic economic nationalism to protect the postcolonial nation against predatory global capitalism.
204 nature of the fant asy if it should be achieved. The satisfaction he derives from that endeavor is tainted by humiliation, and it diminishes and devalues his being to an unacceptable degree. The intimate encounter with Erica transforms fantasy into a nightmare, and motivates Changez to finally abandon his aspirations to whiteness. While he has sought to minimize his racial and geopolitical identity in the Philippines, this experience with Erica appears to shake him more because it undermines his masculinity. In agreeing to have sex with the grieving Erica, Changez mobilizes a patriarchal discourse, constructing Erica as a damsel in distress whom he can save through emotional and sexual intimacy. And his failure in this capacity is coded as an affront to his masculinity, anot her wound on his ego. This attempt to rescue Erica from the clutches of her dead white lover, however, also reverses the Orientalist trope whereby white men are exhorted to save brown women from brown men (Spivak 92). The dead lover, the novel suggests, ha s failed in his responsibility to Erica. By setting up the white man as a threat to (Am)Erica, the novel again subverts racial tropes that historically construct the racial Other as threat to white women and to America (and to the project of Western modern ity in postcolonial nations) while the normative white male subject recuperates that threat with valiant heroism. 6 In the novel, it is the dead white man who threatens the psychic stability of (Am)Erica while Changez, the self constructed ethnic hero, atte mpts to substitute himself, his body and its pleasures, in order to save her. It is not solely the encounter with Erica that convinces Changez to change his mind. After 9/11, Changez rejects the affordances of whiteness following his treatment in New York, as 6 I trace this ascription of white males as heroes in the co ntext of the nationalist historiography of 9/11 in The September 11 Digital Ar chive. As I noted the search for white heroes reflected a narrative of 9/11 as a national trauma. In this narrative, the white heroes present a unifying and normative core aroun d which the traumatized nation can coalesce.
205 much as he is rejected by whiteness in the newly activated racial formation of the Muslim subject disappearance from the novel suggests a receding fantasy of assimilation as the nation state further withdraws its capacity to tolerate racial Others. This withdrawal, however, is not coded as a loss by Changez because he has already been disabused of his faith in the multiculturalist ethic of New York City, and th e apolitical nature of transnational capitalism. After 9/11, he is dismayed to discover that New York has been marked as an American space by the American flags planted all over the city, and its multiculturalism has been undermined by incidents of xenopho bic patriotism directed at Muslims. In one incident, an angry American man attempts to ith the label of interpellated as Muslim due to his brown skin and Pakistani heritage. The cosmopolitan meritocracy of Underwood Samson also ejects him from its fold as Changez discovers the racial politics of transnational labor practices. The beard 7 he cultivates as a symbolic protest against his Othering, isolates him from his colleagues, and he is warned by a ole corporate collegiality veneer only Pakistani American family in The Domestic Crusaders and the Arab and Muslim interviewees in the September 11 Digital Archive, as it brings him into a reckoning of his subordinated place in 7 9/11 racial linkage between Muslims and physical markers such as a beard. Changez does not lay any claims to Muslimness as a religious category, but he grows a be ard when he understands that it has become a racial marker of Muslimness after 9/11. Instead of curtailing signs of his difference, Changez stages an excess of Otherness that draws attention to him in public places.
206 the racial hierarchy of the United States. The post 9/11 racial formation of Muslims as terrorists brings Changez into the gaze of the state, and he finds himself enmeshed in racial projects (such as racial profiling) that he was previously able to ignore. For Changez, unlike some of the real and fictional Muslim American subjects I have studied in this project, this ejection from the folds of the nation state liberates him from the restrictive per formance of the model minority and as he has a strong connection, by citizenship, to Pakistan, he is not distraught by his alienation. Melancholic Ends In the first part of the C hapter, I traced a co constitution of melancholia which binds Changez and (Am )Erica, with each looking to the other to fill the void left by a lost ob ject. In the remainder of this C hapter, I want to highlight the incompleteness and dissatisfaction of this ancholia. Changez, in particular, begins to undo his internalization of whiteness and nurtures a budding transnational melancholic consciousness that drives him to challenge predatory American capitalism. This challenge takes the form of a nationalist driv e to protect the postcolonial Muslim state against the cultural, military, and economic projects of Western modernity. His first inkling of a sense of solidarity with those on the periphery of the circuit of transnational capitalism comes in Manila, while conducting a valuation with Underwood Samson. While Changez takes on American mannerisms and claims New York as his city of origin to cover up the shame of his bedraggled Pakistani roots, he is also jerked out of his performance by the postcolonial inhabit pected the two to share opted by the
207 American empire (67). Instead of playing at being American, Changez wonders whether he This way home, Hamid suggests, is not that easily found, and Changez first passes through another city on the periphery of global capitalism before he is ready to dissociate himself from American power structures and their lur es. A last valuation trip to Valparaiso, Chile, awakens him to the cultural losses engendered by the economic fundamentalism of Underwood various countries in the deve loping world are bound into the circuit of transnational capital by American influence over culture and economy (120). Chile, like the Philippines, represents another developing economy in which American capitalism has a vested interest. The country has a history of covert American intervention in bringing down a socialist government and installing the dictatorship of Pinochet which supported an economic plan of privatization and deregulation drafted with help from the CIA. 8 The CIA backed coup shows the pa radigmatic operations of neoliberalism, with the American state intervening to protect capitalist interests by opening Chile up for the global market economy. In the case of both Chile as well as the Philippines, such interventions also open the nations to the continuing influence of American politics and ideologies. The presence of Underwood Samson in both countries is not ahistorical ; it represents the power that America wields in shaping their futures as global cities. In Chile, Chan valuating the finances of a book publishing company and closing its trade section to improve profits. By the financial logic of efficiency and profit making, the trade section hinders the potential growth of the publishing company. Yet, this 8 In various declassified documents Henr coup which brought Pinochet into power. The previous socialist government led by Allende was considered a ity Archive).
208 section also prints the cultural material that holds a symbolic rather than material value to the nation and its people. Changez remembers his own cultural pride in Lahore, and understands that his work at Underwood Samson harms Third World nations that lack the cultur al and economic power to compete with American capitalism. This realization is driven home by the manager of the publishing firm who tells Changez the tale of the janissary corps, an elite Ottoman army unit that took young boys from Christian families, con verted them to Islam, and conscripted them to do the work of the Ottoman empire. The corps was so well known and revered that families would volunteer their sons, believing that service in the corps would allow their sons a certain privilege and upward mob ility. The manager explains the irony of the janissary corps: because the boys had been indoctrinated into the Ottoman empire from a young age, they grew up to be g Although the manager evokes a comparison to the janissaries, he also dismisses it by noting that Changez is too old to be indoctrinated as such. In bringing up the tale, the manager he American empire, and even participate in capitalist and imperial projects that exacerbate existing inequalities in the Global South. As neoliberal economic p desire to restore the glory of Lahore (and Pakistan) is at odds with his participation in a global capitalist system that in many ways weakens the sovereignty and power of postcolonial nations. It is in Chile that he begins to feel a sense of kinship with those living in the Global South, and especially in countries affected by American military interventions.
209 Even his possession of whiteness in order to enjoy the privileges of belongin g to a dominant class has been motivated by his desire to recuperate the material, political, and social to maintain its own global hegemony, and that such power is exercised at the expense of the Global South, he dissociates himself from project of dominat Underwood Samson, and returns to Pakistan to work as a university lecturer in business and finance. While he is expelled from the spatial terrain of the American nation state, Changez accepts his status as a melancholic outcast because he has not been exiled to Pakistan. Pakistan was and becomes his cultural and political home, the space from which his prophetic vision for a stronger postcolonial nation can be fulfilled. The ps ycho spatial terrain of America 9 cannot serve as the grounds from which he can mount his anti imperial resistance because he is interested, first, in the betterment of the Pakistani people. This transnational melancholic consciousness cultivated in New Yo rk, Manila, and Valparaiso also helps Changez to recognize the Americanness of his gaze. On a visit to Lahore, before he leaves Underwood Samson, Changez is ashamed by the decrepitude of his familial home and bemoans his lowly provenance. He notices, for t he first time, the cracked ceilings, dried bubbles of paint, dated furniture, and an overall air of gloom that hangs about the house (124). But as he ponders his new outlook, he comes to the realization that the house has stayed 9 It is worthwhile to recall here that the virtual sphere of this psycho spatial hegemonic terrain, in the September 11 Digital Archive, posed a number of restrictions on the melancholic testimony of Muslims and Arabs who were speaking of the racism they experienced after 9/11. As I argue in Chapter 4 those speakers found it difficult to articulate a political subjectivity rooted in their melancholic wounds, and claimed an Americanized subject position in order to make themselves legible as v ictims of racial violence.
210 the same since his childhoo attendant devaluation of identities, ideologies, and spaces associated with racial and postc olonial Fldnyi ideas on the capacity of the melancholic subject to notice what lies outside the boundaries of normative ideologies and spaces. A melancholic subjectivity is defined by crossings, and it is this transgressive movement that shapes a melancholic gaze capable of accessing the truth of the present. Thus, Changez, once he begins to overcome his desire for whiteness, notices new truths about the state of his postcolonial world and how it is defined in a Western colonial imagination and affected by the transnational projects of American capitalism. Even the house, which appears to be shabby, takes on new undertones when he practices his transnational melancholic gaze. He finds, for example, that the house attests to a dynamic cultural history, indicated envisioning of the house, Changez does not give in to a cultural nostalgia for a glorious past. Rat her, he comes to see that he has been affected by his internalization of whiteness to such a degree that he has abandoned his desire to revitalize and improve Lahore. While the decrepit house, evocative of the postcolonial nation, invites abandonment, it i s the house with rich cultural and historical roots that appeals to the postcolonial migrant to return to his homeland and build the postcolonial nation. The fact that these two houses are the same finally convinces Changez that the ideological practices o f the
211 American empire allow it to convince the brightest postcolonial students to leave their homelands and contribute instead to its own advancement. The prophetic melancholic gaze with which Changez looks around Pakistan allows him to find economic pote ntial and cultural pride in his homeland. And it is for this reason too, that unnamed American as an attempt by Mohsin Hamid to reverse the fantasy of incorpo ration, and contaminate the American with the cultural and racial difference that forms the normative in Pakistan. In their meeting, Changez attempts to interpellate the American into the alternate power structure of the postcolonial Muslim nation to subve rt notions of center and periphery, and the Western Self and postcolonial Other. The American, for his part, acts out a symbolic transaction with Changez on behalf of the American empire which has been deprived of its psychic sustenance (the racialized bod y, labor, and subjectivity of the good Muslim). While it remains unclear whether the unnamed American is a tourist, businessman, spy, or holds a different role in visiting Pakistan, his specific occupation is of secondary interest. As I show here the man represents the racial ideologies of the American empire, and he looks around Lahore and its inhabitants with an Americanized eye. His presence in Lahore reinscribes the imperial order of the center and periphery, positioning Changez as a native informant a nd Lahore as a dangerous city filled with anti American actors. Changez acknowledges this Western and colonial orientation forced by the American, but he destabilizes it as well by constantly pointing out that the American is dislocated from spaces which p rivilege his identity. The novel opens with Changez placing himself as the native informant, and recognizing the American as an outsider to the postcolonial Muslim nation. The opening line of the novel de to Lahore upon encountering the
212 thought I might offer you my servi the needs and desires of the American, but Changez makes the story about himself, regurgitating the history of his melancholic consumption and eventually introjection of whiteness, with the mo st minimal guiding questions from the American. The novel begins with Changez deliberately seeking out the American on the streets of Lahore, rather than waiting for the American to find him, suggesting a certain brashness and forwardness on the part of Ch angez that marks their interactions throughout the meal. And while he expresses concern for the American in these opening lines, he never asks his name, does not inquire what the American wishes to see or do in Lahore, and never pushes the American to reve al his story even while he shares the most personal details of his own experience in America. The American might be interested in hearing details with no concern ab out the effect on the American. Denied the possibility of speech by Hamid, the American, in a sense, is forced into the position of a listener. The role that Changez adopts here is that of the native informant, who is expected to act in service of the West ern subject, to act as a guide through cultural difference, to sooth racial fears, and to render the complexity of alterity knowable in the terms of Western civilization. Hamid subverts that role, however, when Changez constantly makes the American uncomfo rtable, in a repetition that suggests deliberate intent on the part of Changez. In these introductory lines, for example, he evokes a racialized marker that deems him a threat in the
213 two are marked by this pattern in which Changez unsettles the American by making him alarmed, angry, or discomfited and then apologizes for it only to repeat the cycle again and again. In many of their interactions, as in this one, Changez leaves the American on edge by raising the possibility of danger which he then dispels. As Changez speaks on behalf of the American, articulating his questi ons and interjections and interpreting his body language, the novel ensures that it is the American who is rendered knowable by Changez for the reader. And while Changez puts on the deferential act of the native informant, his actions, even if he is consci ously performing the role to undermine it, indicate that the native informant holds some power over the Western self. On unfamiliar grounds and denied and is made vulnerable to his machinations. At various points during their meal, the American reacts negatively, when a waiter approaches the two and speaks in Urdu, when the lights go out during a power cut, and when the two are served unfamiliar foods, and must be reassured by Changez about his safety. 10 As the two are drinking tea and eating jalebis in the district of Old Anarkali, the first part 10 As much as the American is made vulnerable to Changez, Hamid also draws Changez as a crafty and unreliable from raises the possibility of threats to the American only to dispel them, so does he suggest (to the reader) that the American acts suspiciously without co nfirming it. For example, while the two are having tea in Old Anarkali, no need to reach under your jacket, I assume to grasp your wallet, reaching under his jacket, and raises the possibility that he might be reaching for a gun rather than a wallet as a response to the burly waiter. The jacket and whatever hides under it is remarked upon a number of times by Changez, who notes, that the Ame rican refuses to remove the jacket even though it is warm, and that he also reaches under it when he is startled by a power cut. Such ambiguous and frustrating, albeit suggestive narration, opens the novel to diverse interpretations on the part of the read er.
214 animal that has ventured to o far from its lair and is now, in unfamiliar surroundings, uncertain ity that he has predatory motives in confronting the American (70). Once inscribed in the feminized psycho suggests that he has the capacity to reduce the American to hi s prey. This suggested cannibalistic consumption of the American, which degrades and reduces his personhood to that of an animal, privileges whiteness and asp ires to it, even devaluing his own cultural and racial identity. Yet despite this threatening statement and clear resentment of America, Changez does not consume the American, as this is an act of internalization and melancholic incorporation that Changez has already rejected when he leaves Underwood Samson and America for Pakistan. Now surrounded by the richness of Lahore (and its lavish feasts), he has discovered more sustainable nourishment for his ambitions for restoring Pakistan to its former glory. If the New York offices of Underwood Samson once positioned Changez at the heart of American capitalism and its undercurrents of whiteness, the city of Lahore, in a postcolonial Muslim nation on the margins of American empire, now situates the American as an interloper that has been coded has a threat to American security, which allows Changez to shake the ideological structures of the American man qua empire. In particular, Hamid uses Lahori cuisine and the one sided conversation that occurs around this social event to defamiliarize the American of his preconditioned notions about a racial order that privileges whiteness and the position of power that the Ameri can empire holds globally. In consuming this food, the American imbibes
215 the same cultural difference which he finds so unsettling and which represents the threat of a s racialized subjectivity, the American finds it difficult to repeat that act of consumption on form of contamination, an encroachment of alterity that disturbs the American because it holds a prophetic vision of a future with alternate structures of global power. In this reversed fantasy of incorporation, Changez delivers a testimony rooted in his melancholic wound while drawing the American into his own vision, and into a recognition of the melancholic condition of the American empire. This contamination begins with the consumption of the same tea which Changez once suggested was emblematic of Lahore and which marks the beginning of their shared meal. Later, Cha ngez insists that the two eat dinner together, refusing to allow the American to decline his mutton, the tikka of chicken, the stewed fo ot of goat, the spiced an excess, this extravagant meal, full of foods that the American would not otherwise eat, what Frank Chin ling Cynthia Wong elaborates as p 56). Yet, the ethnic
216 as such, this consumption is rendered safe. It promises white patron s an encounter with a palatable and staged exoticism (56). In The Reluctant Fundamentalist Hamid offers a different form of consumption as the Lahori cuisine has not been Westernized to suit American tastes, and its unfamiliar aspect challenges his mains tream sensibilities. The Lahori feast is not depoliticized or domesticated in for the consumption of the American. While he worked at Underwood Samson, Changez allow ed his racial labor to be consumed and put in service of empire, and now in Lahore, he opens himself again for another assimilation of his subjectivity. In a manner, the American could be ome his melancholic identification with whiteness, Changez adopts the metaphor of contamination, inviting the American man to a veritable feast(ing) of Otherness, knowing that this invitation will make him uncomfortable and mark him. Changez indicates that if the American is to truly interact with cultural difference and its political significance, he must accept the discomfort it brings him and interrogate those received social ideologies which code this cuisine (and culture) as radically different from an are adjustments one must make if one comes here from America; a different way of observing is dissociated himself from an incorporation of whiteness, and he aims to bring the American into this perspective by contaminating him with Lahori food and his testimony. In consuming the food, the American is thus invited by Changez to look past the contem
217 invokes the richer cultural history of the nation, and of a proud peo we built the Royal Mosque and the Shalimar Gardens.... we we did these things when your country was st ill a collection of thirteen small colonies, gnawing nationalist, with these claims to a Lahori cuisine renowned for its authenticity, purity, and historicity, he ev entually indicates that Changez practices a strategic economic nationalism in which the future of the postcolonial state is rooted in a stronger global economy rather than a shared nostalgia for a glorious past. I do want to draw attention though to the pr ide that Changez expresses in the same heritage that he had once sought to hide for its decrepitude. While he was once ashamed of his lowly provenance, he has worked to be self reflexive and overcome that perception. Intermingling Lahori food with Changez hold the American empire accountable for its harmful capitalist, military, and racial projects. As preyed upon by a postcolonial nation that wants to claim its own place in the global market. It is also, however, an invitation to the American to reflect on the consequences of American desires and excesses of power. The testimony Changez shares in the course of the meal, about how he came to reject his interpellation in American power s tructures and developed an ethical
218 loaded confession that the American wishes to draw from Changez might unveil his radical actions in present day Pakistan but it i s also critical of the American policies which shaped unsettle the American and prompt him into self reflection. The shared meal, Changez warns the American, will dir ty both their hands if it is eaten in the authentic Lahori way and Changez ensures this will be the case by denying him the privilege and familiarity of a fork and knife (123). By participating in the predatory feast with his bare hands, the American can n o longer remain at a safe emotional distance from his prey and its contamination. It is with this goal of a contamination that compels self critique that Changez unburdens his most closely held secrets to the American. While I have already discussed his i ntimate incorporation of whiteness and the values of American neoliberalism and the degrading effects melancholic testimony in which he articulates his resentment of American empire. The American is given an early taste of this resentment while the two are ordering their meal in the Old Anarkali restaurant. When Changez notices that the American is still wary of their burly waiter, he attempts to better situate his pre (108 ). While Changez begins his explanation to reassure the American, he fails in this purpose (and perhaps deliberately so), when he notes that the American is outmatched in size compared to the waiter. With his next lines, Changez goes further and suggests t hat the waiter has a
219 border with neighboring Afghanistan, and has suffered during offensives conducted by your In drawing attention to America the specter of dispossessed war refugees who have fled the same American interventions intended to improve conditions of living in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the American imaginary, these specters r epresent the threat of future terrorism as they are directly affected by American actions. Changez exacerbates that threat by suggesting that the man holds a grievance ccuses the American empire of ignoring the consequences of its actions until those consequences become security threats, the American in Lahore appears to follow that same pattern, by becoming aware of the waiter only as a threat to his personal wellbeing. Yet, the advice is slyly reckoning with that history even as he is aware that the waiter will not harm the American. Indeed, the two share a peaceful meal unmarre d by any violence on the part of the waiter. In this particular instance, the perceived threat of Muslim rage exists only in the American imagination and it is fueled, Changez implies, by the repressed knowledge that military offensives in Pakistan and Afg hanistan are harmful to local civilians. Implicitly too, Changez shames the American for viewing the soft spoken waiter as a threat, and giving into the reductive racial ideologies from which that perception is drawn 11 11 Although the waiter does not do anything untoward during the meal, Hamid re opens the question about his waiter and a small group of m their presence as co incidental, but as the two near the gate of the hotel, the waiter rushes at Changez and American. The novel ends with Changez reassuring the American t hat the waiter merely wishes to say goodbye while the American reaches inside the much commented upon jacket. Whether he is drawing a gun or his wallet with business cards (as Changez quips) is left to the reader to decide.
220 In drawing the interactions between C hangez and the American, especially as they pertain to 9/11, Hamid urges that the melancholic American empire adopt a more reflective and nuanced understanding of the suffering of people affected by the American War on Terror. If Changez were to truly act in the capacity of the native informant, he might make that task easier for the American by narrating a woe laden tale that evinces empathy. Instead, he takes a radically different approach by angering the American with his response to 9/11 and bringing th e American into an encounter with alterity which rejects the grounds of normativity. When Changez first witnesses the Twin Towers collapsing on television, his first and instinctive he impact of his 73). Internalized social norms dictate that his reaction is imp roper, and yet it springs forth from a repressed place in his unconscious with an immediacy that bewilders Changez. fact that someone had so visibly brought America cultivated but held within Changez, as a result of his reification of whiteness and the denigration of his racialized identity, finds expression in a perverse and socially forbidden pleasure at the moment of th e attacks. Quite aware that his response could lead to his ostracism if it is discovered, he hides it from his American colleagues who are all appropriately shocked and ted anger at Ghafur in The Domestic Crusaders In that play too, the racial subject who has committed to a mimicry of whiteness and suffered for it, articulates his anger in an improper manner by striking his son instead of striking at the dominant racial order.
221 Changez, however, is also different from Salman in that he has overcome his feelings of shame, even admitting his perverse reaction honestly to the American, and has turned his anger into more productive channels. While Changez does not articulate any empathy with the methods or ideologies of the 9/11 terrorists, he does hold the desire to challenge the American empire. He is altogether unconcerned about his confession confirming beliefs in an anti American Muslim rage because he knows that the Amer ican interloper has already drawn his conclusions about least something Muslims or from other sources goes unclarified. The reprehensible statements do cause the American Changez causes the American to feel angered or uncomfortable but does not ap ologize for it. Changez draws attention to the perverse pleasures of the American empire in bringing suffering to others, suggesting that his own perversions are no worse than those of the empire. By referencing the War on Terror, Hamid suggests that the American empire continues to exist in a melancholic state. The pote ntial weakness and vulnerability implied by a terrorist attack on the homeland is covered up with displays of military power in Afghanistan and Iraq, and capitalist projects in the Philippines, Chile, and other developing countries. The American empire, th ese displays announce, is unshaken and continues about its business. What was
222 necessary in that moment, according to Hamid, was to productively confront the losses of 9/11, 168). Changez is referring here to his last days in New York when he is surrounded by the dismaying rhetoric of war and nationalist fervor from the government and media. Hamid leads into dangerous territory with this statement, as it evokes what Breithaupt 79). Although Changez does not identify with the means or the goals of the terrorists, I believe that he urges the American towards a more nuan ced geopolitical perspective of Islamist terrorism. Instead of situating the terrorists as racial Others with a monstrous and inexplicable drive for violence that escapes rationality, Changes asks for an understanding of relational pain and cyclical violen ce. In the post 9/11 construction of Muslims as potential agents of terror, this anti Muslim rhetoric also foreclosed possibilities for the nation state to confront the pain of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq who would be adversely affected by war. Changez is particularly affected by this rhetoric because it threatens the safety of his family in Pakistan, a state crafted in predicated on an empatheti c terrain in which the wounds of no one subject are prioritized over the other; the pain of American cannot take precedence to the pain of the civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq (as the two countries most affected by American military intervention). Instead the two melancholics can gather to understand and then mourn their losses together. It is worthwhile here collectively interrogate the implications of loss (128).
223 In suggesting this relational understanding of shared pain, Changez attempts to bridge the ideological gap between the two mourning subjects, a gap that has yielded the troubling and destructive rhe toric of a civilizational war 12 between the West and Islam. It is this internalized anti Islamic rhetoric that causes the American to look at Changez and the Lahori civilians around him as a threat to his well being and which Changez challenges him on durin g their meal. Despite this suggestion to the American to develop a nuanced perspective, Changez also hinders him in developing a own ethical transnational sensibility based on shared vulnerability and pain. s own voice in the novel implies that the process of melancholic introjection cannot yet begin as there cannot be a true communion between the two. productive fashion) but rather in allowing the postcolonial Muslim subject to grapple with his own melancholic wounds. The locus of the novel cannot be America, and Changez points to this agement cannot be internalized in Pakistan because they will define the marginality of Pakistan in the American empire. Instead Changez begins to teach business c ourses in Lahore so that local youth can contribute to the economic future of the nation and protect it from the encroachment of American transnational capitalism. That the meeting between the American and Changez is staged in Lahore, an unfamiliar and unc omfortable territory for the American, further indicates 12 Huntington alludes to a violent clash of civilizations in his work by reductively painting an irrational Islam as a warfare because cultural differ ences have become more rigid, and no longer capable of being negotiated and compromised (27).
224 that Hamid intends the two to meet on a space that Changez claims as home and where the American does not belong. While the melancholic testimony and its mode of expression might suggest an entry po int for the American to perform his own self reflexive work to interrogate the harmful effects of American empire, the man must undertake the project of introjection of his own will. It is also unclear whether the American man will succeed where Erica fail ed, as she was unable to put side her nostalgia for a white hero figure and her encounter with Changez was an attempt to fill that loss. Changez refuses to occupy the roles of devalued racial labor or the good Muslim in other to satisfy American desires fo r a malleable Muslim subject. He has been able to grapple more productively with his melancholic condition because he is no longer bounded by or reacting to the imperial and capitalist projects of American empire. While he does take a strong anti war stanc e in Pakistan, he also refuses to characterize himself as a reactionary (as the American insinuates) because his actions are primarily intended to protect those with whom he experiences kinship. In speaking to the American to share his own testimony, he do es speak back to empire, but his political outlook is not oriented around that goal. Thus, by extricating himself from that co constitutive relationship, he can both understand how he has been marked by it while looking past it. At the end of their meal, C hangez explains this interlinked subjectivity to the American made permeable by a relationship [because] something of us is now outside, and something of the o disengagement from America, Changez is aware that globalized circuits of power,
225 communication, capitalism, and knowledge inextricably connect America and Pakistan but Changez desires to find a productive and empathetic relationality between the two subjects. The various confrontations between America and Pakistan, the Western subject and the terrorist other, Erica and Changez, and the American and Changez have already unfolded in intimate, strange, and tumultuous terms. These confrontations have already stained, dirtied, and otherwise marked the interacting subjects indelibly, and it is now up to the subjects to interrogate the your tantrums draws to a close and causes the American to feel increasingly insecure in his presence, again raising the question of whether his testimony will actually prompt self reflecti on in the American. In conclusion, I want to turn instead, to the possibilities afforded by a transnational melancholic consciousness to a cultural and economic nationalist like Changez. If Japanese American activism expresses subaltern advocacy from withi n the bounds of the nation state, then The Reluctant Fundamentalist mounts its anti imperial and anti racist resistance from outside those discursive and coercive boundaries. Reorienting notions of the center and the periphery, Changez challenges the locus of global power in multicultural American cities and envisions a postcolonial nation that resists the lures of American aid, capitalist projects, and imperial power. His nationalist actions in Pakistan, as a teacher, mentor, and anti war activist, are art iculated from the site of the (melancholic) wound, but Changez overcomes the anger, shame, and self denigration that mark the melancholic condition and hinder the characters of The Domestic
226 Crusaders from articulating a political subjectivity to protect th emselves from the racial projects of the nation state. Although Changez puts an end to melancholic incorporation, denials of loss, and incomplete and dissatisfying substitutions, Hamid indicates that he is shaped by those psychic processes and retains his melancholic transnational consciousness. Having developed a melancholic gaze that showed him the truth of the hegemonic order constituted of American transnational capitalism and its imperial ambitions, Changez has no desire to return to it and he continu es to transgress that order and its limits. As a practice of melancholic citizenship then, this transnational consciousness enables Changez to liberate himself from the confining performance of the model minority subject, and its continuing devaluation of marginalized subjects. No longer invested in the privileges of whiteness and an unequal and hierarchical racial order, the melancholic subject experiences instead a kinship with those citizens of the Global South who are disproportionately affected by a pr edatory American capitalism.
227 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION In one of his earliest decisions after assuming office in January 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order authorizing the susp ension of immigration from a selected number of countries with large Muslim populations. The Executive Order immediately affected not only immigrants from countries such as Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq, but also denied was pr emised on Islamophobic ideas that Muslim immigrants would include terrorists seeking to infiltrate American borders. The sweeping nature of the ban, denying even refugees from the so called interchangeability of members of a racial group, drives the nation state to implement wide ranging projects of racial profiling that affect the entire racial group rather than select individuals (1591). Instead of reviewing individual immigration and refugee applications, the Muslim Ban generalizes and stereotypes all Muslims as potential terrorists, and feeds the Islamophobia that resurgence in anti Muslim sentiments. That the Muslim Ban continues the racial profiling enacted by NSEERS and the PATRIOT Act in 2001 suggests that the War on Terror continues without end and persistently positions Muslims as a threat to the nation state. This is the normalized st ate of exception (as Agamben terms it), and its specific post 9/11 manifestation justifies and is secured by tighter regimes of biopolitical control under the guise of a civilizational war between Islam and the West (59). National paranoia about Islamic te rrorism has transformed Muslims into racialized subjects that the state seeks to define, monitor and control. The collapsing of Arab/Middle Eastern/South Asian/Muslim identities into a reductively construed racial formation of Muslims
228 as terrorists dates b ack to the Cold War, but its emergence has been acutely felt by Muslims after 9/11. For Muslims, the racialized subjects and suspect citizens of the nation state, the unending War on Terror and its recourse to Islamophobic rhetoric brings abrogated citizen ship rights and the possibility of racial violence from state and private actions. The literary and cultural texts I have studied in this project indicate that as long as Muslims continue to be inscribed in the national imagination in restrictive subject p ositions, as assimilated immigrants or violent terrorists, they will exist in the nation state as second class citizens. Model minority discourse, which prescribes appropriate behaviors for good Muslims, grants conditional acceptance to the nation state pr emised on subordination to an existing racial hierarchy. The racial and cultural difference of Muslims is, at best, tolerated, but at moments of national crisis, it is used to position Muslims outside the bounds of national belonging. The melancholic testi mony I have traced in ethnic literature, historiographic and archival documents, and legal briefs enables Muslims to articulate more complex racial subjectivities. In particular, I have argued that an emergent subjectivity, defined around melancholic citiz enship, allows Muslims to form intergenerational, interethnic, and transnational alliances that are grounded in shared histories of oppression and insist on racial justice for marginalized citizens. The texts I have examined attempt to shift the national c onversation on Muslims by challenging the reductive terms in which Muslims have been defined in public life. While the texts admit to the frustration, anger, and even shame that marks Muslim subjects who have lived subordinated lives as model minorities, t hey also express the possibility that Muslims can re negotiate the terms of their belonging to the nation state. Such a re negotiation is not only desired by Muslim subjects, as I have outlined in my project, but it is also possible through transformative social and political movements. In their conceptualization of racial formation, Omi and Winant draw
229 mutable concept, race is produced and maintained at the intersection of state power, public discourse, and group struggles for self definition. In the immigration history I traced in the Introduction, I showed how Arab Americans, one of the ethnicities dra wn into the racial categorization of Muslim, successfully challenged citizenship opportunities in the United States. As that example indicated, Muslims, even as rac ial subjects of the state, are not entirely powerless and hold the capacity to alter dominant racial ideologies and intervene on the hegemonic terrain of the state. 1 The texts I have studied in this project show that in the post 9/11 movement, this transfo rmative capacity has been turned to challenge the normative model minority discourse and allow Muslims to confront the psychic impact of internalizing this discourse. In particular, I hope that this project has attended to the racial wounds that mar the Mu slim psyche as a result of inhabiting social and political spaces that devalue the racial difference of Muslims even while outlining the desire of the raced subject to overcome the pain of these wounds. There is an embedded hope in melancholic testimony th at the traumatic reckoning with racial wounds will yield a recuperative healing, what Eng and Han In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the need for scholarship on racial trauma and how Muslims grapple with the unhealed psychological wounds of racism. That Muslims continue to 1 In writing about Asian/American identity formation, David Palumbo with Asian American ethnicities, I would ascribe a parallel agency to Musl ims in the face of racial oppression.
230 face racial state projects (like the Muslim Ban) and the violence engendered by Islamophobic rhetoric suggests that cumulative encounters with systemi c oppression continue to be a part of life in the United States for Muslims. One avenue for future cultural psychoanalytic research in Asian American Studies revolves around the symptoms and effects of racial trauma as well as the possibility of self care and healing in post 9/11 literary and cultural texts about and by West of the Jordan post 9/11 poetry by Suheir Hammad and Naomi Shihab Nye, and autobiographical wor ks (such as Guantanamo Diary ) by released Guantanamo Bay detainees. While I could not address these works in my current project, they are strongly undergirded by tropes of racial trauma carried across transnational geographies in ways that are relevant to my project For a future extension of this study, I believe it would also be fruitful to continue my examination into the geo political rootedness of digital spaces, and further investigate how Muslims become racially constituted in nationalist virtual dia logue and express their melancholic testimony and racial justice agendas in digital spaces. Social media spaces like Twitter have rapidly emerged as sites for digital activism, social support, and community building, and Muslims have deftly used hashtag ac tivism to draw attention to the circumstances of their racial oppression. Finally, in studying the racial trauma of Muslims, I would especially suggest that researchers examine interethnic and interracial alliances for racial justice as they present an opp ortunity for Muslims to proactively work through the pain of racial trauma. In this regard, there is potential for new scholarship on post 9/11 social movements that grapple with shared histories of racial oppression. Although my project focuses on allianc es between Muslims (and in one case, Japanese American activism on behalf of Muslims), the post 9/11 moment has witnessed a dramatic resurgence in social movements campaigning for racial justice, including
231 the Black Lives Matter movement which seeks to rei nvigorate the Black liberation struggle, the DREAM movement advocating for undocumented immigrant youth, activism in support of Muslims who were Othered after 9/11, and the more recent No DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) protests led by the Standing Rock Siou x tribe. This remarkable constellation of social movements is reminiscent of the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s and gestures towards the incompleteness of that historical project which sought to transform prevalent and inequitable racial systems. Tha t these post 9/11 movements have arisen concurrently is not coincidental and suggests the intersecting nature of systemic oppression and the need for interracial and interethnic alliances that challenge dominant racial ideologies. My current project focuse d partially on activism by and in support of Muslims as one node in the network of post 9/11 social movements. I believe, however, that there is a need for scholarship on the linkages between these various movements, particularly in their understanding tha t racial oppression is intersectional, and the racial state enacts harmful racial projects and ideologies that are not restricted to one racial group. After all, the entangling of Arab/Middle Eastern/South Asian identities is part of the racial formation o f Muslims as terrorists. Racial state projects that impact Muslims inevitably affect the diverse ethnic groups drawn into the reductive definition of Muslims. I see this entanglement as an opportunity for alliance building as the affected ethnic and cultur al groups recognize that their struggles for racial justice are not isolated, and their efforts will likely be amplified if they are coordinated. This future direction of scholarship on interracial and interethnic alliances is directly aligned with and adv ances the investment that Asian American Studies holds in studying intersectional and transnational racial oppression as a facet of the U.S. empire.
232 APPENDIX INTERFACE OF THE SEPTEMBER 11 DIGITAL ARCHIVE Figure A 1. Front page of the Septem ber 11 Digita l Archive in 2002 (Internet Wayback Machine)
233 A B Figure A 2. Special collections page in 2002. Page starts in A, and continued in B. (Internet Wayback Machine)
234 Figure A 3. Collection level in 2014, with the two narrative b ased collections highlighted (September 11 Digital Archive)
235 Figure A 4. Rubble with first responders (EMT Photos, September 11 Digital Archive) Figure A 5. First responders at Ground Zero site (EMT Photos, September 11 Digital Archive)
236 Figure A 6. First responders at work (EMT Photos, September 11 Digital Archive) Figure A 7. Cleaning up the Ground Zero site (EMT Photos, September 11 Digital Archiv e)
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248 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Dhanashree Thorat (Ph.D. in English, University of Florida, 2017) situates her research at the intersection of Digital Humanities, Postcolonial Studies, and Asian American Studies. She is a founding Executive Council member of the Center for Digital Humanities, Pune in India. She serves as the lead organizer for a biennial winter school on Digital Humanities, and advises the center on digital archival pro jects and DH curriculum development. She has written about her experiences with building DH networks in the Global South as a HASTAC Scholar (2015 2016), and is currently working as the issue editor for Asian Quarterly, a peer reviewed scholarly journal, f At the University of Florida, she has served as co convenor of the Digital Humanities Working Group, and was the lead co ordinator for the first THATCamp Gainesville. She was also part of the committee that developed the Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate at UF. She has organized and led DH workshops on various topics including digital archiving, feminist digital humanities, and digital pedagogies.