Caught in a Cross-Fire: Cultural Identity and Diaspora in Wajahat Ali's The Domestic Crusaders and Ayad Akhtar's The Who and the What


  • Asst. Prof.Dr. Maysoon Taher Muhi University of Baghdad College of Education for Women



Conflicts, Cultural Identity, Diaspora, Hom K. Bhabha, Muslim-Americans, Stuart Hall 'the Third Space'


Cultural identity and diaspora are complex concepts extensively studied and theorized by scholars in various fields. The plays Domestic Crusaders by Wajahat Ali and The Who and the What by Ayad Akhtar offer a unique perspective on these concepts in the context of Muslim-American experiences, particularly the younger generation, as they navigate the construction of their cultural identities within the host country, the United States. Diaspora people are too often ghettoized and feel disconnected from their sense of belonging in the host country, where their cultural values and practices are subjected to mockery and discrimination. Although both plays touch upon the impact of the 9/11 attacks and diaspora on shaping and maintaining Muslim identity amidst contextual changes, the primary focus is on the characters' struggle to find a sense of belonging and establish new identities within their respective cultural groups. The characters' pursuit of reinventing their identities sometimes crosses with the authentic, conservative, and traditional culture, leading to an identity crisis due to the volatile cultural struggle between the Muslim lifestyle and Western modernity. Employing a post-colonial approach, this study delves into the characters' journey of reconciling their hyphenated identities within what Homi K. Bhabha terms 'the Third Space,' where they can find a sense of attachment to their identity. Drawing from Stuart Hall's theory of Cultural Identity and Diaspora, the paper concludes that the ongoing conflict of cultural identity clashes within the Immigrant Muslim family, as depicted in both plays, necessitates a retrospective re-understanding and appreciation of the dynamic nature of constructing cultural identity.


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How to Cite

Maysoon Taher Muhi , A. P. (2023). Caught in a Cross-Fire: Cultural Identity and Diaspora in Wajahat Ali’s The Domestic Crusaders and Ayad Akhtar’s The Who and the What. Lark, 15(6), 761-738.