** one paragraph for each question; read the attachment to answer the questions 1. Who is Shadh Alshammari? What are her identities? What does she mean by ‘hybridized identity’? 2. How do her differen

STUCK with your assignment? When is it due? Hire our professional essay experts who are available online 24/7 for an essay paper written to a high standard at a reasonable price.


Order a Similar Paper Order a Different Paper

** one paragraph for each question; read the attachment to answer the questions

1. Who is Shadh Alshammari? What are her identities? What does she mean by ‘hybridized identity’?

2. How do her different identities pose a problem in her culture? As a woman? In academics?

3. How does Alshammari’s article reflect the concept of intersectionality? (hint: How does she describe disability in terms of the Western tradition of viewing the body? What about Eastern conceptions of disability [both Middle East and Bedouin cultures])?

** one paragraph for each question; read the attachment to answer the questions 1. Who is Shadh Alshammari? What are her identities? What does she mean by ‘hybridized identity’? 2. How do her differen
25 A Hybridized Academic Identity Negotiating a Disability within Academia’s Discourse of Ableism Shahd Alshammari I have always been very aware of my body. As a Kuwaiti Bedouin woman, I grew up in a culture that viewed my body as taboo, as something to be hid- den, concealed, and, mostly, regulated. At a very early age, I was informed by my father that I was to protect my body, that the entire tribe’s honor laid within me. If I was a “good girl,” I would be able to understand how sacred my body was. I was always conflicted while growing up because I was caught between three very different, disparate cultures. My father was Bedouin, my mother was Palestinian, and I was educated in American, co- ed sc hools. In this environment, race and identity were two issues I was forced to negoti- ate. Language itself was terrifying— I was bul lied for speaking a hybridized language, bits of Kuwaiti Bedouin, bits of Palestinian, and, of course, English. By the age of sixteen, I had developed a sense of immunity toward soci- ety’s expectations of me. I merely existed in my world, choosing to be alone, and focusing only on my education. Unlike most women in my tribe, I was fortunate to be educated: my mother had consistently fought for me to be given the opportunity to study. To be educated was the first step in overcom- ing tribal and patriarchal oppression. Education would secure my future and grant me financial and social status. However, my position as a hybrid left me constantly shifting between two worlds: because I was a woman, I was expected to remain “good” and “modest” while at the same time trying to reclaim rights that I had been denied because I was born a woman. Born into a Bedouin family, I knew that although I was older, my younger brother Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages 26  •  Negotiating Disability had freedoms and rights that I could only fight for. I was constantly trying to prove that although I was a girl, I could be just as competent as my brother, and that I could make a difference in the world. I was always fighting for a sense of individuality, a sense of being, set apart from the family and the tribe.But then, when I was eighteen and about to head to college, the biggest blow of my life hit: I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), an auto- imm une illness. The diagnosis further complicated an already complex situ- ation and left me feeling even more marginalized and inferior than before. I was now a woman, a hybrid, and diagnosed with an illness that people in my society knew very little about. How would I ever find my place in a society that upholds normativity and rejects an ambiguous state of being? MS is itself a hybrid disease, in the sense that it is completely random, indeterminate, and presents itself between the juncture of abled/disabled, healthy/sick. MS patients may go days or months or even years feeling relatively stable and healthy, and then one day, out of the blue, they may wake up blind, deaf, or unable to walk. Just like that, without any warn- ing, people with MS may move between the boundaries of abled/disabled. Because MS is sometimes an invisible illness, it can be concealed. Not all symptoms are apparent, and certainly not all symptoms are permanent. You may be walking one day just fine, and the next, you may need a cane, or even a wheelchair. This invisibility can make it hard for people with MS to claim a disabled identity. Thus, for me, MS has always occupied an ambivalent, ambiguous space. It is a hybridized disease. Allow me to quote Mairs (1996) on the mechanisms of MS: The hypothesis is that the disease process, in which the protective covering of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord is eaten away and replaced by scar tissue  .  .  . is caused by an autoimmune reaction to a slow- a cting virus. . . . In effect, living with this mysterious mechanism feels like having your present self, and the past selves it embodies, haunted by a capricious and mean- spir ited ghost, unseen except for its footprints, which trips you even when you’re watching where you’re going . . . and weights your whole body with a weariness no amount of rest can relieve. An alien invader must be at work. But of course it’s not. It’s your own body. That is, it’s you. (83– 8 4) With such attacks, every sense of a stable self is called into question. Who am I and how has my body attacked me? If the mind is superior to the body in the Western mind/body dualism, then how is it that MS, a disease that Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages A Hybridized Academic Identity   •  27 originates in the central nervous system, is able to control the body and one’s sense of self ? No amount of positive thinking can change the reality of a failing body. My body was protesting, and it was reminding me and every- one around me of its existence, its visibility. At the same time, there were many years when my MS was not visible at all. I was passing as “normal” and “healthy,” although I was in pain most of the time and required medication to keep some of the symptoms in check.For the longest time, I believed it was important for me to pass as “nor- mal” if I wanted to prove myself worthy. According to McRuer (2006), able- bodiedness is deemed as impor tant and compulsory as compulsory heterosex- uality (10). This pull towards compulsory able- bodiedness led me to str uggle with both aspects of my identity. Various systems of societal discipline seek to control and regulate identities and bodies, constantly emphasizing the fictive necessity of achieving normalcy in all aspects of life. Disability holds negative connotations and is associated with lack, failure, and loss. Socially, it is often interpreted as unfeminine and chaotic, even subhuman. This set of terms is complex and needs unpacking— although they are shared by different cul- tures and communities— the y are not strictly universal. The Western tradition of viewing the body as morally inferior and the mind as superior has infiltrated our conscious and unconscious perceptions of a cohesive identity. The supposed split between the mind and body is too simplistic and reductive. Similar to Western ideologies that suggest the mind is a powerhouse and treat the body as controlled by the mind, Eastern con- ceptions of the body remain stigmatizing. The mind is supposedly capable of willing the body into place, of setting it straight; positive thinking can change your reality, and the shameful corporeality of the body is deliberately ignored. Yet despite the public eye’s neglect of the body, “physical pain is highly un- predictable and raw as reality. It pits the mind against the body in ways that make the opposition between thought and ideology in most current body theory seem trivial” (Siebers 2008, 64). If MS is a disease of the central ner- vous system and affects motor control and limbs, then is it the mind or the body that is falling short? Generally speaking, MS is uncommon in the Arab world. We are told by scientists that it mostly affects “Caucasians” and occurs mainly in areas of the globe where there is hardly any sun exposure. I come from the desert, literally, a country that has high temperatures year round. My diagnosis made very little sense. I was seen by British neurologists who were utterly baffled. I was a healthy teenager, I had never tasted alcohol in my life, and I had never Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages 28  •  Negotiating Disability tried any form of drugs. I had never been ill before, and I was suddenly un- able to walk and needed help doing most of the everyday chores I had taken for granted. My body had called attention to itself; it was in crisis. I was now undeniably immersed in my body, and it was choosing to fail me.My father had always insisted that by the time I started menstruating, I would have to cover my hair. My mother kept fighting for the opposite, claiming that it was my choice whether I would ever want to be veiled or not. He agreed reluctantly and said that we would wait until I was a fresh- man at college. After all, that was the real world. The world really begins at college, he said, and that was when my identity as a Bedouin woman would really flourish. I would have to represent the family and the tribe. I was now part of the larger public sphere, and college was the first initiation into it. But because my MS diagnosis decided to join me as I entered the “real world,” this further complicated matters. My curly hair could not be tamed; I could not brush it myself, let alone cover it. Not only that, but I would also have to face the world with my wild hair, an unbalanced gait, slurred speech, and a twitching eye. Not very feminine, not exactly an ideal body, let alone an “ideal woman.” My father let the issue of regulating my body go— no w there was something worse to deal with. I had been accepted to study Literature at the American University of Paris, but because of my new diagnosis, I was unable to travel or live on my own. I stayed home, attending Kuwait University, where I majored in English Literature. I did not inform the school of my disability for many reasons: partly because it was an invisible disability, partly because I was ashamed, partly because my family refused to let me claim a disabled identity, and mainly, because I was afraid of what this new- f ound identity might do to my career. I had a goal. I wanted to become an academic, and I believed whole- heartedly that disclosing would destroy my career. Each year, our English de- partment chose the best candidates and sent them on a scholarship to earn a PhD from England or the United States. I feared that if the news ever spilled that I had MS, I would no longer be eligible. Indeed, one of the rules of the scholarship explicitly stated that the applicant should be “healthy.” And so I spent the next four years hiding my disability, passing, and refraining from sharing any details of my illness with anyone, even when such sharing might have really made my life easier. For instance, I would claim I had injured my leg playing soccer, when in reality, I was suffering from an MS relapse and my legs were numb and not functioning normally. I would claim that my handwriting was naturally awful, but my hands were actually suffering from a persistent tremor, and I required more time to take my examinations. I had Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages A Hybridized Academic Identity   •  29 to deal with comments like “that’s why girls shouldn’t play soccer” and “you need to fix your handwriting, bad handwriting is a sign of bad character” and “you can’t be that clumsy.” In all of this, I preferred dealing with criticism of my character rather than risk being discriminated against because of my disability.As an undergraduate student, for a time, I had to use a cane. All heads turned. I was suddenly a spectacle, both admired and pitied, found both fasci- nating and repulsive, and I was sometimes asked many questions by my peers and professors, while at other times, I was simply ignored. I began noticing that the public’s attitude toward the sick female body differed from the way men with disabilities were viewed. There were many male students with dis- abilities, but I observed that they were not stared at. Tension would arise when I would enter a classroom, cane in hand, feet shuffling. A professor once looked up from his desk and asked me why I insisted on coming to class. In front of the entire classroom, I had to mumble a few incoherent words— I said I needed to take notes f or the upcoming exam. I felt the need to excuse my behavior and my presence. My presence made others uncomfortable, and I was apologetic for failing to meet the image of both ideal womanhood and a “good student.” I was constantly trying to prove my social worthiness and academic abilities. When MS remained invisible, socially awkward situations like the former example were avoided. However, there were times when no matter how much I wanted to hide, to be sheltered from exposure, my body demanded to be seen, to be made visible. During these years, I tried to set myself apart from the “disabled” and did not seek their company. I was aware that MS support groups existed, but I could not bring myself to associate with them. They were mostly older people, and ageism was an issue of which I was not aware. I was the youngest patient, and I was not severely disabled. I felt a strange feeling overcome me, one that I later recognized as guilt. I felt as an imposter would, as if I was an able- bodied individual seeking to be inc luded in a community that was sup- portive and understanding. I did not yet understand that there were varieties of disabilities and that I was still subscribing to the binary division of able- bodied/disabled. I truly wanted to be perceived as “normal” so that I could, in the same vein, be considered academically proficient. After graduating with a high GPA, I convinced my parents that I deserved a chance to pursue my higher education. There was one condition: I needed someone to live with me, in case my MS decided to attack. Fortunately, at the time, a friend was interested in pursuing the same education, and so we trav- eled together. Eventually, I earned my MA degree from the University of Ex- Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages 30  •  Negotiating Disability eter in England. While a postgraduate student there, I received support from my professors, and one suggested that I work on Disability Studies research. I brushed off the suggestion, unable to claim a disabled identity and not yet ready to face the world. I was still trying to be the “best” image of myself. If I failed to live up to normative ideas of womanhood, then I would at least be a successful academic. I applied for numerous jobs but never landed a full- time off er. The “heartbreak in academia” as I like to call it, took place one day when I informed the interview panel at a local university that I had MS and that I would sometimes be unable to perform at my level best. The head of the committee responded warmly, but after a teaching observation, they decided against hiring me. They shared a list of reasons why I was not fit for the job, but the one that left me dumfounded and angered was that I was criticized for teaching while sitting down, rather than walking around the classroom. This, to the committee, meant that I was not “engaged” or “engaging.” I filed a complaint, of course, and attempted to take the issue to the dean, to the newspapers, but I never pulled through. My complaints had little ef- fect, and I was not ready to fight. I was not ready to have my career killed: I was only twenty- fiv e, and I was still planning on staying within academia. This was the first in a series of disappointments with the “real world” and the academic world. I began to understand that my job was to protect my career, just like I had attempted to protect myself as an undergraduate. I told myself I would embrace passing, and I would do my utmost to keep MS at bay, to keep it as invisible as possible. My identity over the years had become founded on education; it was all that I had carried within me along the years. Education set me apart from my tribe, and it was the only reason I had come as far as I had. I needed to survive in academia; my identity as a woman rested entirely on my ability to land (and keep) a job, to be financially independent, and to break free from patriarchal oppression. Over the last few years, I have managed to work as an adjunct faculty mem- ber in various universities, while at the same time completing my PhD. Com- pleting a PhD, of course, has been a challenge, as my cognitive abilities have begun to fail me and my body struggles to maintain a teaching job and do research at the same time. Yet somehow, I still only find solace in academia, and I find that my career as an academic is inextricably linked to my identity. I have, however, also begun to come to terms with the possibility that being an independent scholar might one day be the most valid option for me. Passing as a concept can have different meanings depending on racial, social, and gender ideologies. Disability passing, crossing the boundaries between Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages A Hybridized Academic Identity   •  31 able- bodied/disabled, normal/abnormal, and visible/invisible disabilities is a complex act that challenges rigid dichotomies that attempt to fix an other- wise fluid identity. Because disability passing is multifaceted, and certainly not universal, one needs to remain vigilant to its nuances and complexities. However, as Brune and Wilson note, “nearly all disabled people confront, often routinely, the choice of hiding their disability or drawing attention to it and the question of what to do when others overlook it. Going to the root of a disability identity, their decisions weigh issues of stigma, pride, prejudice, discrimination, and privilege but rarely put the matter to rest” (2013, 1). In aca- demia, passing is even more daunting. Though many academics might protest and deny this, academia relies heavily on presenting an intellectual, coherent, and productive identity that emerges as distinctive and distinguished. The psychological effects of such passing, however, can be traumatic, especially when finally acknowledging what Wilson has termed the “impossibility of passing as normal” (2013, 31). To recognize this impossibility is to come to terms with a newfound identity that is not based on simplistic and reduc- tive definitions that continue to isolate and exclude people whose bodies are marked as deviant or different. Reaching this stage is not a straightforward process and requires constant revision and renegotiation. Working as an academic with a disability has been problematic at times. I have become experienced with the art of hiding pain, of hiding a huge part of me, that is, of my body. Not only do I know that my body may well be the end of my career, but I also recognize the discomfort that people feel when the “disabled” body is brought to their attention. Frank (1997) reminds us of the double- bur den that the person with the illness or disability must carry: When adult bodies lose control, they are expected to attempt to regain it if possible, and if not then at least to conceal the loss. . . . Thus the work of the stigmatized person is not only to avoid embarrassing him- self by being out of control in situations where control is expected. The person must also avoid embarrassing others, who should be protected from the specter of lost body control.” (31) My students, for instance, never see me limp or double over from the chest pain that sometimes attacks me (known, ironically, as the MS hug). At times, my eye twitches uncontrollably, my hand shakes from a tremor, and I must put the red pen down, hide my hand under the desk, and wait for it to pass. Sometimes it does. Other times, I have to dismiss the class. The ultimate Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages 32  •  Negotiating Disability question remains to pass or not to pass. Keeping a huge part of one’s identity hidden is a form of closeting. Siebers (2008) notes that “[c]loseting involves things not merely concealed but difficult to disclose— the inabilit y to disclose is, in fact, one of the constitutive markers of oppression” (97). There is too much at stake upon disclosure. And so closeting becomes yet another duty to carry out. Passing as non- disabled r equires effort, dedication, and the ability to manipulate others’ perception of you. Passing also becomes manageable because other people assist in this performance. But there might be no desire to pass if society provided equal opportunities for the disabled. As Carey puts it: Perhaps at a macro level, a positive culmination of social justice move- ments would be a society that resists sharp demarcations of identity and related resources and instead meets the individual needs of its people without imposing bounded identities on them, thereby remov- ing the structural constraints that shape individuals’ choices regarding, and understandings, of passing. (2013, 160) Access to elevators, offices that are not too far from the department’s class- rooms, and flexible work hours all count as means for inclusion within the workforce. However, there are other, not- so- visible issues that arise. Chronic fatigue, for example, is yet another symptom of MS, and because the fatigue is invisible, it places you at the juncture of normal/abnormal. Disabled people fall into many categories, but when the impairment/disability is invisible, it adds to the indeterminacy. Chronic fatigue is a vague state of being that is of- ten misunderstood, even in the medical community. More often than not, it is associated with depression and a general lack of interest in the world. This misrepresentation of a very real, and often disabling, condition marks the person complaining of chronic fatigue as lazy, unproductive, and even “dra- matic.” Other disabled women have shared with me their experience of being considered liars or “drama queens” because their fatigue is invisible. In a so- ciety that remains very patriarchal and oppressive, these women are fighting to establish an autonomous identity. As an academic, my experience is that a debilitating symptom such as fatigue is difficult to explain to the general public, even as it can alter one’s productivity, energy, and concentration levels. Because MS is a hybrid disease, claiming disability with MS can be prob- lematic. If, as Siebers writes, disability “does not yet have the advantage of a political interpretation because the ideology of ability remains largely un- Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages A Hybridized Academic Identity   •  33 questioned” (2008, 81), how are we to call for an understanding of an invisible disability? He continues,There is no term for the prejudicial reduction of a body to its dis- ability. Disability activists have proposed the term ableism to name this prejudice, but it has not been accepted into general usage. Its use elicits scowls and smirks, even in progressive society. There is little sense either in the general population or among scholars that words like blind, crippled, stupid . . . or dumb carry social meanings having an interpretation, history, and politics well beyond the particularities of one human body. (2008, 81) If scholars are still unaware of the importance of disability studies, then how can we expect more from the general population? When I express my interest in Disability Studies to colleagues, some still smirk at both the existence of such a field as well as my insistent academic and personal interest in it. Accused thus of narcissism, the disabled individual is left trying to explain and rationalize their behavior. Siebers (2008) contends that “the accusation of narcissism is one of the strongest weapons used against people with disabilities (and other minorities who pray that consciousness- r aising will bring an end to their oppression)” (37). As I have taken an interest in the creation of disability politics and problematics of identity, I find myself having to defend that choice to other able- bodied a cademics who are not yet convinced of the category of Disability Studies. Much like Women’s Studies and Queer Studies, Disability Studies does not have a viable market in the Middle East. Disability Studies calls for intersectionality and inclusivity, but still faces contempt from both academics and the general public. While such attitudes may be changing in the West, it remains difficult to work in this field from an Arab woman’s perspective. I find it difficult to locate academic resources that address disability in the Middle East. Upon walking into one of the best Arabic bookstores in Kuwait, I asked the salesman if I could find anything relevant, and he laughed. There was something in my question that unsettled him and made him giggle. I frowned, confused with his reaction. He managed to compose himself, but his initial reaction remained with me for months after. To consider disability, we cannot ignore gender or race. A disabled individual is not genderless, and personal circumstances are not separated from gender and race. A disabled man living in Kuwait will likely be able to maintain a Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages 34  •  Negotiating Disability social network and lead a fulfilling life. Although he will also be stigma- tized and deemed less desirable than an able- bodied man, he will still retain some of his pride and dignity. For example, marriage is not completely ruled out. For disabled women, the situation is different. Many disabled women in the Middle East do not get married, and gender ideology works to oppress them, leaving them excluded from their communities (Abu- Habib 1997, 20). Indeed, as Abu- Habib (1997) notes, “disability should be understood as actu- ally reinforcing inequalities between men and women” (21). Disabled women fail to maintain Middle Eastern society’s ideal image of womanhood, and as such, their quality of life is affected. They are denied basic human needs, including emotional satisfaction. A dear friend of mine who also has MS, a thirty- y ear- old male , has not been through the same prejudice I have en- countered. His issues were different, centering on his ability to have satisfying sexual relations. Marriage for a disabled man is accessible, while for a disabled woman, it is almost unheard of. Women are expected to reproduce, take care of children, and carry multiple burdens. If a woman is disabled, her ability to be a caretaker is questioned. This social stigma further destroys one’s self- imag e and ability to function in society. Western culture has more often than not, attached symbolic meanings to illness and disability. As Wendell (1996) writes, cancer and AIDS have often been viewed as “cosmic punishment for immorality (AIDS) or for liv- ing unhealthy lives (Cancer and AIDS)” (62). These Western assumptions in some ways parallel Islamic interpretations of disability. For instance, in Islam, disability is understood as a form of punishment and purification. As a punishment for committing sins, disabilities are also viewed as having a “cathartic function by purging the sinner of his sins and bringing him relief from greater torment in the Hereafter” (Ghaly 2010, 44). Disability, then, does not afflict good people; it is reserved for immoral ones and strives to correct, to purify. Such ideology can fuel individual self- hatr ed and guilt as it brands the disabled individual as immoral, dirty, and deserving of pain and punishment. Following this line of thought, then, I have brought this onto myself. Wendell (1996) explains: Most people are deeply reluctant to believe that bad things happen to people who do not deserve them, or seek them, or risk them, or fail to take care of themselves. To believe this as a general proposition is to acknowledge the fragility of one’s own life; to realize it in relation to someone one knows is to become acutely aware of one’s own vulner- ability. (107) Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages A Hybridized Academic Identity   •  35 Instead of accepting the randomness of illness/disability, societies across dif- ferent continents and cultures try to rationalize and make sense of a some- times nonsensical affliction. Should one be grateful for the disability since it supposedly purifies the soul and saves you from “greater torment in the Hereafter,” as Ghaly (2010, 44) puts it? Islamic thought says that a good Muslim ought to thank God for everything, be it a blessing or a curse: one is not to question Allah’s choices. Such restricting ideologies further silence minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities. I found no consolation anywhere. Society and religion marked me as the “Other,” almost invisible, and these societal oppressions led me to immerse myself in education and the pursuit of an academic career. In Bedouin culture, the body is closely associated to shame and honor. The body is to be hidden, purified, it is both sacred and a burden. A very crucial and significant concept in Bedouin culture is Hasham. It connotes several meanings, but mainly it suggests maintaining honor, modesty, shyness, and being “good” overall. It can also simultaneously be tied to shame:Hasham as the experience of shame arises in interpersonal interactions between social unequals or strangers; it is conceptualized in the idiom of exposure and manifests itself through a language of formality, self- effa cement, and the cloaking of the natural weaknesses or sources of dependency, which includes anything having to do with bodily needs, sexuality, and so forth. (Abu- L ughod 1999, 234) Following Abu- L ughod’s argument, I argue that hasham is tied to disability and illness. To be ill and/or disabled is to lack hasham, to be lacking in ideal womanhood. Because “honor is attained through embodying the cultural ideals” (Abu- L ughod 1999, 130), then illness and disability conjure images of lack and shame, and they corrupt the ideal image that the tribe attempts to maintain, thus threatening its honor. Ahmed aptly notes that “Family love may be conditional upon how one lives one’s life in relation to social ideals.  .  .  . Shame secures the form of the family by assigning to those who have failed its form the origin of bad feeling (‘You have brought shame on the family’)” (2004, 107). Shame, in Ahmed’s formulation, functions like hasham: both control and regulate the individual’s body and social position. Coming out with a disability affects both the individual and the family. Another important concept in Bed- ouin culture and ideology is asil. Asil is an important concept that deter- Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages 36  •  Negotiating Disability mines one’s lineage and purity of origin, and it determines one’s social class and tribal affiliation. While my Bedouin origins were considered noble, my other Palestinian half marked me as the product of a deviant or ta- boo marriage. Both of my parents had chosen to marry someone outside of their familial and social circle. My father, specifically, had committed a huge transgression: marrying a non- Bedouin, a Palestinian city- dw eller, or hadar. It is no surprise then, that their children were not embraced socially. When MS came into the picture, the presence of illness within the family further ostracized my immediate family. I was urged to keep my disability hidden and not admit to it when asked by family members or friends what was “wrong” with me while continuing to pass. I still alternate between periods of disabled visibility and invisibility, be- tween inclusion and exclusion, and I have come to terms with this always hybridized state of being. My body and my identity have both claimed me as a hybrid, always both inside and outside the margins, always speaking mul- tiple languages of existence. My focus on Disability Studies as a scholar is one way I am claiming my identity as a disabled academic who is affected by MS but who, nevertheless, is not fully disabled. I find myself occupying dif- ferent spaces and attempting to “come out” with my identity by speaking and verbalizing my experience within my body and within academia. I am writing to negotiate what my hybridized body as an academic could possibly mean. It is a constant struggle, a continuous attempt to develop new understandings and meanings of how I present myself to the world and how I am perceived in the academic (as well as the public) sphere. References Abu- Habib , Lina. 1997. Gender and Disability: Women’s Experiences in the Middle East. UK: Oxfam. Abu- L ughod, Lila. 1999. Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society. Berkeley: University of California Press. Ahmed, Sara. 2004. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. New York: Routledge. Brune, Jeffrey A. and Daniel J. Wilson. “Introduction.” Disability and Passing: Blur- ring the Lines of Identity, edited by Jeffrey A. Brune and Daniel J. Wilson. Phila- delphia: Temple University Press, 1– 12. Car ey, Alison C. 2013. “Sociopolitical Contexts of Passing and Intellectual Disabil- i t y. ” Disability and Passing: Blurring the Lines of Identity, edited by Jeffrey Brune and Daniel J. Wilson. Philadelphia: Temple University Press: 142– 66. F rank, Arthur W. 1997. The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages A Hybridized Academic Identity   •  37 Ghaly, Mohammed. 2010. Islam and Disability: Perspectives in Theory and Jurispru-dence. New York: Routledge. Mairs, Nancy. 1996. Carnal Acts: Essays. Boston: Beacon. McRuer, Robert. 2006. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. N e w York: New York University Press. Siebers, Tobin. 2008. Disability Theory. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Wilson, Daniel J. 2013. “Passing in the Shadow of FDR.” Disability and Passing: Blurring the Lines of Identity, edited by Jeffrey Brune and Daniel J. Wilson. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 13– 35. W endell, Susan. 1996. The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Dis-ability. New York: Routledge. Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved. Revised Pages Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., et al. Negotiating Disability : Disclosure and Higher Education, University of Michigan Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ohiostate-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5153908. Created from ohiostate-ebooks on 2020-06-20 13:29:01. Copyright © 2017. University of Michigan Press. All rights reserved.

Writerbay.net

Everyone needs a little help with academic work from time to time. Hire the best essay writing professionals working for us today!

Get a 15% discount for your first order


Order a Similar Paper Order a Different Paper