The druzification of history

Queering time, place, and faith in the diasporic novels of Rabih Alameddine

in Queer Muslim diasporas in contemporary literature and film
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This chapter retrospectively explores Rabih Alameddine’s fiction dealing with the Lebanese diaspora in the USA: The Hakawati, I, the Divine, and KOOLAIDS: The Art of War. The chapter initially considers The Hakawati’s reinscription of homosexuality in Islamic (hi)stories and its problematic censorship in contemporary Lebanese communities. Such a disorientation of heteropatriarchal mores is rendered possible through Alameddine’s ‘druzification’ of history – a pun on Rushdie’s ‘chutnification of history’ – from his diasporic perspective, by adapting and interweaving stories, histories, and religious texts in a manner that syncretises them. It then examines the queering of gender performance in I, the Divine, a novel that critiques both Druze patriarchy and homonormativity in the West. It concludes by analysing the queering of time and place, via Judith/Jack Halberstam, in KOOLAIDS, a novel that, it is argued, assembles the Lebanese Civil War, the American AIDS crisis, as well as America and Lebanon, through a queer Muslim pseudo-prophetic narrator living with AIDS. It is proposed that Mohammad irreverently dismantles heteronormative scriptural exegesis and amalgamates sacred texts in order to defy literalist religious orthodoxies. It is also suggested that KOOLAIDS posits a form of queer family at a remove from the prescriptions of bloodlines.

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