ROLA KHAYYAT

Events

North of History Goes South


Pieces of Us: The Intimate as Imperial Archive

Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (2018) 14 (3): 268-291.

Abstract

This article uses a multigenerational lens to address the tangible and intangible embodiments of the US-Saudi oil empire in the lives of the three sister authors. This multisited intimate geography of empire challenges national categories and recognizes that mixing and migrations, forced or desired, shape and define all families. It explores the look, feel, and sounds of lifeworlds in the US imperial outpost of Aramco using an immense archive of family photographs and Fadia Basrawi’s memoir, Brownies and Kalashnikovs: A Saudi Woman’s Memoir of American Arabia and Wartime Beirut (2009). It considers the geopolitics of oil and the worlds it produced in the intimate relations and domestic quarters of the Aramco oil camp in the 1950s and 1960s, in the authors’ childhoods in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, which also involved US imperialism, and as embodied in their lives at present.

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