Liat Steir-Livny, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer. Holocaust Studies, Film Studies & Cultural Studies  


The Jewish works of Sayed Kashua: Subversive or Subordinate?

Liat Steir-Livny & Adia Mendelson-Maoz 2011

This article discusses the place of Hebrew and Jewish images and stereotypes in the works of the Israeli-Arab Hebrew writer Sayed Kashua. When describing his Arab protagonists, Kashua portrays both the stereotype of the oppressed Diaspora Jew, who is trying to blend in and hide his identity, and the stereotype of the Israeli Jew, the image that many of Kashua's protagonists aspire to imitate. The article argues that adopting those images and stereotypes has a dual function. On the one hand, it can be understood as an attempt to imitate and internalize the majority's gaze, creating a sense of brotherhood and familiarity with Jewish-Israeli readers. On the other hand, the same images and stereotypes can be understood as having a major subversive thrust that ridicules the Jewish-Israeli identity and its perception of the Israeli-Arab and criticizes the Israelization process among Palestinian citizens of Israel. This subversive dimension, typical of Kashua's sarcastic style, becomes sharper in his more recent works.

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Arabs, Hebrew literature, Israelization, Jewish stereotypes, Palestinian-Israelis, post-colonialism, Sayed Kashua


Steir-Livny, Liat & Adia Mendelson-Maoz. "The Jewish works of Sayed Kashua: Subversive or Subordinate?". Israel Studies Review. Vol.26, No. 1, 2011, pp. 107-129.

© 2014 Liat Steir-Livny. Designed by Boaz Albert