Disability and Identity Transformation in Selma Dabbagh’s Out of It


This paper examines the significance of disability in Arab British novelist Selma Dabbagh’s Out of It (2011). It underscores how disability engenders an identity transformation that Sabri Mujahed undergoes in the novel. The study highlights how disability triggers resistance strategies to the oppressive socio-political norms and occupying powers. The paper also draws attention to the psychological and socio-cultural impacts of disability on the life of Sabri Mujahed. Sabri turns his skills toward a great mission of writing the history of Palestinian resistance and exposing aggressive Israeli policies. The process of writing itself has a therapeutic effect that helps Sabri overcome his disability and channel his mental powers to a greater cause. Taking into consideration disability studies’ tendency to provide a fresh approach to understand a disabled character’s inner world, this paper employs disability studies as a theoretical and critical framework in light of which the novel is analyzed. The paper also foregrounds the socio-political, cultural and historical conditions and circumstances that Palestinians in Gaza experience and undergo. In this context, continuous Israeli military attacks, a stifling blockade and internal factional conflicts are some of the challenges that people in Gaza, including disabled Sabri, have to cope with on daily basis.


Laura Bashiti and Nedal Al-Mousa


Arabic literature in diaspora, disability in literature resistance, identity transformation, socio-cultural impact