This article examines the Arabic fiction of ʿAfifa Karam (1883–1924), an overlooked contributor to the nahda, or the Arabic cultural renaissance of the mid- to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Born in Mount Lebanon, Karam became a novelist, journalist, and translator in the North American mahjar (Arab diaspora). A discussion of Karam’s novel, Fatima al-Badawiyya (Fatima the Bedouin), published in New York City in 1909, explores the author’s engagement with gender politics within a hybridized cultural space. Such attention also reveals the transnational character of nahda literary culture, as readers and writers scattered across four continents interacted in the textual “spaces” of the rapidly expanding print culture in the Arabic-speaking world. As a single player within an international network of Syro-Lebanese women writers, Karam’s foundational feminist fiction reveals her cosmopolitan female subjectivity, offering a radical vision of global sisterhood that transcends geographic, political, and religious boundaries.

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