Tuesday, December 29, 2009

State of the Blog: Happy New Year

Photo by Hans Haake

Well hello there, new readers and followers.

According to the fine folks at Google Analytics you are from countries all over the globe. It is an exciting prospect, having an international readership, so I thought I would pause as the year comes to an end and restate my goals with this blog.

What do I blog about? Glad you asked:

I am interested in the ways that culture and politics overlap and rub up against each other. I don't make distinctions between "high" and "low" culture, so you are as likely to read about contemporary art and experimental performance as films and TV here. And my notion of politics, which I take to mean the structures of power that shape the relations between people, is similarly broad. I am also a performance and interdisciplinary artist and scholar and if you are interested in that work you can find it here on my website. You can find my critical writing in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism and (upcoming) in The Drama Review. And I have guest blogged at Racialicious and had my work reposted at Altmuslimah.com.

You may notice by looking at my archive that I often write about the Middle East. I am interested in the politics and culture of the Arab and Islamic worlds and the dynamics between East and West, more broadly. Orientalism and Islamophobia are particular concerns for me but I also write about racial and ethnic prejudice--and the ways those things are represented in culture-- in general.

Also: after decades of successfully avoiding and/or sabotaging interpersonal relationships in favor of an artfully crafted cynicism and lots of black clothing I got a dog and became a complete sap. So sometimes I write about him too.

So, um, that's me. Now, if you like tell me about yourselves.

What brings you here? What sorts of things would you like to see me address? Where are you from? Don't be afraid to speak up. I have no formal commenting policy and do not mind posting dissenting opinions as long as they are offered respectfully and move the conversation forward. But don't waste your time writing me hate mail: I'll just delete it without a second thought. I've enjoyed starting this blog this year. In 2010 I plan to resume my interview series with artists and thinkers I find interesting so hopefully you will enjoy that.

Have a happy New Year.


  1. dude, I actually had a dream last night about your blog. not a joke !!! LOL.

  2. LOL! I am inside your head now, there is no escape...

  3. I am a white convert to Islam. I was originally born in Germany, lived here in the USA since aged 5. I have lived and worked abroad and love to travel.

    Since 2003 I have settled in the metro DC area where I married the daughter of a former Saudi diplomat. We now have two boys together, aged 3 and 4.

    Like yourself, we have a new addition to the family, his name being Casper, a five month old English Labrador Retriever.

    I found you through Racialicious, from which we both seem to have had a falling out with over their coverage, or miscoverage/mishandling of topics surrounding Islam, the Middle East and Palestine.

    I love your interviews and the coverage of the Middle East. As to what I'd like to see more of, as the father of two little guys who are half Arab I like stuff about what it means to be Arab in the USA. As one of them has a disability, maybe something about people with special needs in the Arab American community?

    Either way, love what you do!

  4. Hey, it is me (or I, whatever my grammar sucks) of the same name from Twitter, just surfed over and looking forward to reading your blogs and your work over on your site. Your diss looks fascinating...didn't realize you were working on it at NYU, one of my best friends is postdoc there in English right now.

    Also...more who on Friday!!! Dalton Spit!

  5. I don't remember how I found your blog. But it has been a part of my very small reading list in 2009. I lurk!

    I was born and spent my childhood and adolescence in India, and now live in Canada (via the USA). I am queer, feminist, in a long-term, open relationship with a brown man and am starved for connection with people, words and activism that takes into account the colonial and imperial debt owed to the Global South.

    I very rarely find a chance to connect my deep anger at North America's war mongering in South Asia and the Middle East with my rage against gender-based violence through my work (white feminist organizations) or my personal converations(white liberal friends). It is heart-warming to read your perspective and visit here!


  6. @Abu Sinan
    great to hear from you and thanks for the suggestions. yes, its true that I don't write for (or even read) Racialicious any more--for the reasons you've said. I have struggled with whether to blog about my experience there and with making my opinion of that site public. I am still not sure if I should... but you are right I'm no longer affiliated with Racialicious and do not recommend the site.

    Great to see you here.

    I'm glad you de-lurked to say hello. It's great to know that you follow along and to hear a bit about your life and concerns. I am can identify with the struggle to find a place for your feelings re: the Global South. It is stunning to me how many otherwise liberal people are either blind to the issues you raise. Hopefully we can balance that out by developing community online.

  7. I found your blog through Racialicious and have been following it regulary...more or less. I find that your posts are insightful and informative and really get a lot from your blog overall.
    I especially like the way you call many members of the liberal movement out on their tendency to side with neo-conservative rhetoric and tactics when it comes to the treatment of people of color, especially with regards to saving them from theirselves (whether it be women from the men, or them from their "backward" ways). I think you do that the best of just about any person I've encountered with regards to blogginr or commentary in general. I also think that your pieces on Palestine are always great and you bring forward a lot of important information and views. In addition to excellent posts, your responses to commenters always come across as well thought-out and extremely even tempered.
    I am from the U.S. southeast, Alabama and Florida. Currently on a forced break from grad school, and while I wish that I had left on better terms than academic dismissal, it is obvious need to re-evaluate when going back to making sandwiches isn't as daunting as continuing towards a Masters in public administration. For most my life saw myself joing the military but begin to rethink it in college. My views just didn't seem to mesh up with a military career. Even though I still think about it from time to time, blogs like yours reassure me of my decision, even though my mom thinks I've thrown my life away by not joing.
    I really look forward to your posts in 2010 and am sure they will continue to be amazing. Don't know about thw whole Racialicious thing, but your responses to some of the comments on the 300 movie post and your post on the subway incident were absolutely great and added a lot of depth and perspective. Not to mention both responses displayed your excellent ability to formulate great responses and point out when people embrace conservative talking points/ try to take over conversations at the expense of others/ trivialize the experiance of some, etc.

  8. @Tracey
    Thank you for speaking up and for your kind words. By the way, I hear about about Grad School difficulties: It has been a long a winding road for me too. All I can say is, you never know how things are going to turn out. I look forward to hearing from you again in 2010.