Explores how young people from communities targeted in the War on Terror engage with the “political,” even while they are under constant scrutiny and surveillance
Since the attacks of 9/11, the banner of national security has led to intense monitoring of the politics of Muslim and Arab Americans. Young people from these communities have come of age in a time when the question of political engagement is both urgent and fraught.
In The 9/11 Generation, Sunaina Marr Maira uses extensive ethnography to understand the meaning of political subjecthood and mobilization for Arab, South Asian, and Afghan American youth. Maira explores how young people from communities targeted in the War on Terror engage with the “political,” forging coalitions based on new racial and ethnic categories, even while they are under constant scrutiny and surveillance, and organizing around notions of civil rights and human rights. The 9/11 Generation explores the possibilities and pitfalls of rights-based organizing at a moment when the vocabulary of rights and democracy has been used to justify imperial interventions, such as the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maira further reconsiders political solidarity in cross-racial and interfaith alliances at a time when U.S. nationalism is understood as not just multicultural but also post-racial. Throughout, she weaves stories of post-9/11 youth activism through key debates about neoliberal democracy, the “radicalization” of Muslim youth, gender, and humanitarianism.
“Maira’s vivid ethnography The 9/11 Generation introduces the political work forged by Muslim and Arab American youth. With their own brand of political organizing, these young people contest the uncomplicated way the categories ‘Muslim’ and ‘youth’ are framed as dangerous in the post-9/11 era. Through their committed activism that bridges race and faith, a lesson that draws on the civil rights struggle of the last century, they are engaging in a critique of empire and, ultimately, actively finding ways to change the world.”-Junaid Rana,author of Terrifying Muslims: Race and Labor in the South Asian Diaspora
“Sunaina Marr Maira’s The 9/11 Generation is predictably excellent and essential—a book that leads us through the impact of the Global War on Terror on Afghan American, Arab American and South Asian American youth. This is an ethnography with teeth—gripping and urgent.”-Vijay Prashad,author of Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today
"Begins an important inquiry into what America has become. A must read."-Choice