The Forms and Meanings of (In)Visibility
Arab-Americans and the State of Terror in Youssef El Guindi’s Back of the Throat and Language Rooms
This article investigates two well-known plays by Youssef El Guindi, the most important and prolific playwright of 21st century Arab-American theatre. Both plays are related to the consequences of the terrorist attacks on the Arab-American community, and they explore the structures of control enacted by the security state and the strategies of its repressive politics. The article focuses in particular on the tropes of visibility and invisibility and its paradoxes for a minority that moved from ‘invisible citizens’ to ‘visible subjects’ within a few hours. The paradoxes of visibility and invisibility and their divide are here explored in relation to three main issues: the relationship between ethnic identity and citizenship – be it social and/or political; deviancy and the construction of Otherness; and identity and the body.
Keywords: Theatre • 9/11 • Visibility and Invisibility • Contemporary American literature • Arab-Americans