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The Moor in New York: Rethinking the Encounter, Unsettling the Binaries and Un-writing the Centre in Un Marocain à New York

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-05-22, 04:33 authored by Lhoussain Simour
Youssouf Amine Elalamy's travel-inspired-narrative Un Marocain à New York (A Moroccan in New York) chronicles Elalamy's physical and epistemological journeys to the United States of America to receive an "American education." It is replete with powerful situations and recollections that offer illuminating and problematic critique of the modern empire; furthermore, it foregrounds a counter-consciousness that is meant to oppose and contest Western inscriptions of "Otherness" It also shows how the previously silenced voices have managed to express agency and resistance within the ambiguities of the Orientalist tradition as it voices the subversive postcolonial attitude of the author who emerges as a "dissenting voice" that contests Western hegemonic discourse. Elalamy's subversive attitude remains intensely self-conscious and it is meant to disturb the Western mode of representation of Otherness through a systematic reversal of the "order of things." As will be argued, Elalamy manages to break away from the totalising ideologies and acquires agency that grants him more visibility within the American community. His autobiographical narrative explores discursive instances that demonstrate how inventively the Other can answer back and react against the West's disfigured rendition of the Oriental; as he manages to symbolically "wrestle the power to self-represent" and "take history into [his] own hands."


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