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AFS Review: Notes

Revisiting "'Celebrating Arabs'"

Tuesday, January 5, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shannon K. Larson
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By John Laudun (University of Louisiana, Lafayette) -- Given recent interest in the idea of Arabs or Arab-Americans celebrating on September 11, 2001, the American Folklore Society has decided to open access to Janet Langlois' article on "'Celebrating Arabs': Tracing Legend and Rumor Labyrinths in Post-9/11 Detroit" in the hopes that Langlois' careful tracing of the history of this particular legend will shed light not only the actual history of events that have shaped the U.S. but also how rumors become legends and legends speak different truths than we first imagine.

The article is available at
Full Citation and Abstract: 

Langlois, Janet L. 2005. "'Celebrating Arabs': Tracing Legend and Rumor Labyrinths in Post-9/11 Detroit. The Journal of American Folklore 118 (468). University of Illinois Press: 219–36. 

This article examines one instance of a widely spread rumor (incipient legend) circulated via e-mail in northwest Detroit that Arab employees at a Middle-Eastern restaurant cheered when they saw television footage of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. It argues that rumor and legend scholars, especially those examining alternative communication paths including Internet transmissions, should work to retain the complexity of performance-oriented studies in their comparative analyses. It takes "the middle road"in building a case for examining, whenever possible, the complex intertwining of localized and globalized "folkloric space" for readings that are richly textured and evocative of a variety of social conditions.

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