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The Construction of Syrian-American Identity in Abraham Rihbany's A Far Journey and Other Writings

By Jake Hazen


This thesis examines A Far Journey (1914), the autobiography by Syrian-American pastor Abraham Mitrie Rihbany, and parses its relationship and reaction to American nativism and to the growing Syrian-American community. A Far Journey is more than an autobiography, it serves as an appeal to Rihbany's American readership for the assimilation and acceptance of the Syrian immigrant. Rihbany strategically constructs a view of Syria and of the United States within the framework of American conceptions of the Holy Land and of the American nation in order to win the ear of his American reader and promote the Syrian as an appropriate candidate for Americanization. This thesis reads A Far Journey, and several other of Rihbany's works, and broadens the context through a reading of Syrian history, American history, and immigration in the early 20th century. Abraham Rihbany's A Far Journey is a response to American nativism, Syrian-American efforts for naturalization and acceptance, and an appeal written to Americans, within an American understanding and discourse, for the assimilation and fair Americanization of Syrian migrants

Year: 2015
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