This is a response to Abdelkader Cheref’s review of my book Dissident Writings of Arab Women: Voices against Violence in this journal (13:3 [November 2017]: 438–41).

Cheref was gratuitously patronizing, sloppy, and dismissive, as well as misinformed, in his review. I respond to only some of his egregious mistakes. Accusing me of essentialism for identifying the women writers whose works I analyze as Arab, Cheref offers genetic and racialized essentialisms as an alternative—for example, “Maghrebis are Imazighen (Berbers) and not Arab” and “Egyptians are not genetically Arab” (438). Cheref seems unaware of postcolonial and antiracialist contestations of genetic and other forms of identity essentialism. Beyond the problematic intellectual and theoretical lack these comments indicate, the women I interviewed and whose personal essays, memoirs, and blogs I examined self-identify as Arab or mixed-race Arab-Imazighen. Writers as diverse as Maïssa...

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