Tainted Testimony: The Work of Scandal

Gillian Whitlock

in Soft Weapons

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780226895253
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226895277 | DOI:
Tainted Testimony: The Work of Scandal

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This chapter explores what happens when a “hot” life narrative is outed as a hoax text, and a potent moral and political force turns cold, with its potency diminishing in a painful aftermath. It specifically addresses Norma Khouri's Honor Lost: the hoax that brings the brand into disrepute. In both Honor Lost and Forbidden Love, the same story of terrible retribution is told. Honor Lost uses life narrative to bring to light the practice of honor killing, invoking quite explicitly an alternative jurisdiction to the Shar'ia courts that address the custom of honor crimes according to traditional Islamic law. In the peritext of Forbidden Love, Khouri deliberately invokes an international court of appeal, an alternative jurisdiction on behalf of oppressed and silenced Arab omen in Jordan: “the voices of people in Western nations.” It is noted that hoax, scandal, and impropriety haunt testimony.

Keywords: hoax text; Norma Khouri; Honor Lost; Forbidden Love; life narrative; honor killing; scandal

Chapter.  9655 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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