This study is a cosmopolitan multiculturalist interpretation of history and literature: a study of five writers, all born in early twentieth-century Mexico, descendants of immigrants from the Eastern Mediterranean then under Ottoman imperial control. It is an inquiry into the conditions and meanings of the identifications of the Lebanese of Mexico through their establishment and maintenance of cultural institutions and their creation, appropriation, and ignorance of literature in Spanish and Arabic in the twentieth century.
A history of the immigration is presented with terms for both the immigrationn (Levantine) and the communities (Lebanese) based on a theoretical framework that separates the categories of analysis from the categories of practice. The distinction allows for the explanation of essentialist primordial concepts of identity to be described within constructivist circumstantialist concepts of identification. This changes the discussion from the entity of identity to events of identification, though it does not preclude agents themselves conceiving of identity as reified. The distinction of analysis from practice removes the apparent contradictions of agents' identifications and persons unrecognizable to the agents can be introduced.
Ordered by their current importance to the Lebanese of Mexico, the writers are presented and analyzed in their relational and categorical identifications with the Lebanese of Mexico: relational in their family histories, categorical in the histories of their works considered as Lebanese. Jaime Sabines is praised as Lebanese, though he never foregrounds his heritage in his poetry. The novels of Héctor Azar and Bárbara Jacobs mediate between history and fiction. Gabriel Zaid deviates from any categorical identifications. Albīr Adīb, who wrote in Arabic, is unknown within Mexico; his presentation here intervenes in the categorical identifications of the Lebanese. Each chapter presents an aspect of Lebanese identifications; together they reveal the complexities of what it means to identify with the Lebanese of Mexico.
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