The Performative Diasporic Subjectivity in Randa Abdel-Fattah's Ten Things I Hate about Me

Document Type : Original Article


PhD in English Literature, Department of English Language and Literature, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran



The present paper is an attempt to study Randa Abdel-Fattah’s novel, Ten Things I Hate about Me (2006) from Judith Butler's performative perspective. The main question of the research is whether the diasporic subjectivity of the Muslim protagonist of the novel is innate, static, and finalized or rather performatively constructed. It is argued that Jamilah, as a diasporic Muslim woman, is not a being with an essentialized identity; rather she is a becoming whose identity is constructed in diaspora. It is contended that Jamilah is a discursive subject, hailed by the dominant Lebanese, Australian, and Islamic discourses. Butler's attestation of the infelicity of some performances leaves space for the resignification and reappropriation of the discourses, which attempt to interpellate the subject. The study seeks to demonstrate that Jamilah as the diasporic doer, who is constituted as a result of the performative linguistic, corporal, culinary, and artistic deeds, is not determined by any of the discourses she is immersed in, and thus becomes a hybridized liminal subject who negotiates the discourses of home and host cultures through evading the dualistic logic.


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