1st Edition

Routledge Handbook on Middle Eastern Diasporas

Edited By Dalia Abdelhady, Ramy Aly Copyright 2023
    458 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    458 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Bringing together different strands of research on Middle Eastern diasporas, the Routledge Handbook on Middle Eastern Diasporas sheds light on diverse approaches to investigating diaspora groups in different national contexts.

    Asking how diasporans forge connections and means of belonging, the analyses provided turn the reader’s gaze to the multiple forms of belonging to both peoples and places. Rather than seeing diasporans as marginalised groups of people longing to return to a homeland, analyses in this volume demonstrate that Middle East diasporans, like other diasporas and citizens alike, are people who respond to major social change and transformations. Those we count as Middle Eastern diasporans, both in the region and beyond, contribute to transnational social spaces, and new forms of cultural expressions. Chapters included cover how diasporas have been formed, the ways that diasporans make and remake homes, the expressive terrains where diasporas are contested, how class, livelihoods and mobility inflect diasporic practices, the emergence of diasporic sensibilities and, finally, scholarship that draws our attention to the plurilocality of Middle Eastern diasporas.

    Offering a rich compilation of case studies, this book will appeal to students of Middle Eastern Studies, International Relations, and Sociology, as well as being of interest to policymakers, government departments, and NGOs.

    1. Coming to and coming from the Middle East: the unfolding of diaspora

    Dalia Abdelhady and Ramy Aly

    Part 1: Forming diasporas

    2. To be denied a homeland: British mandate policy and the making of the Palestinian diaspora in Chile

    Nadim Bawalsa

    3. The AKP government in Turkey and diaspora-making: lobbying, public diplomacy and the erasure of difference

    Bengi Bezirgan-Tanış

    4. Critical events and the formation of a Coptic diaspora in North America between Al-Khanka and Al-Zāwiya Al-Hamrā

    Michael Akladios

    5. Opportunities here and there: digital diasporas and the Iranian American election moment

    Hajar Yazdiha

    6. The limits of diaspora: double vulnerabilities among Eritreans in Saudi-Arabia

    Nicole Hirt and Abdelkader Saleh Mohammad

    Part 2: Making and remaking homes

    7. The lifecycle of Amazigh diaspora activism in Europe: from institutional pioneers to the new ethnicities of the postmodern age

    Ángela Suárez-Collado

    8. The diasporic Amazigh movement in France: articulating indigeneity

    Jonathan Harris

    9. Valorising some and marginalising others: the diasporic field in the making of Lebanon

    Paul Tabar and Wahib Maalouf’s

    10. Transnational networks in Tunisia’s democratization: Diaspora activism in France and Italy

    Alessandra Bonci

    11. Secularism, sectarianism and the transnational connectivity of the Lebanese diaspora in Senegal

    Mara Lichtman

    Part 3: Expressive terrains of contestation

    12. The semantics and substance of contesting Turkishness in the diaspora

    Pinar Dinc

    13. De-orientalising queer Iranian diasporic identities

    Farhang Rouhani

    14. Queering diaspora through queer art: contesting the double binds of homocolonialism and homonationalism

    Andrew Gayed

    15. Post-tarab identities in diaspora: a sonic imaginary of Arab Canada

    Jillian Fulton Melanson

    16. Resisting marginalisation, renegotiating gender: intersectional narratives of diaspora experiences

    Dalia Abdelhady

    17. Creativity as a contested site of identity-making: careers, gender and diaspora for Sydney’s Lebanese Australians

    Sherene Idriss

    Part 4: Class, livelihood and mobility

    18. Exploring the creative Israeli diaspora: reading class and profession in the diaspora

    Nir Cohen and Steve Gold

    19. Making middle class lives: diaspora and belonging among Pakistanis in Dubai

    Gennaro Errichiello

    20. Diasporic before the move: China’s Hui Muslim’s trade and ties with Iran and Muslimness

    Man Xu

    21. A Diasporic Balancing Act: Syrian entrepreneurs in Turkey, Egypt and Jordan

    Ching-An Chang

    22. Diaspora Syrians and humanitarian aid in the Syrian civil war

    Shawn Flanigan

    Part 5: Diasporic sensibilities

    23. Return migration and repatriation: myths and realities in the interwar Syrian mahjar

    Stacy Fahrenthold

    24. The emergence of diasporic sensibilities among Iraqis in London

    Zeinab Saleh

    25. Healed pasts, multiple belongings and multi-focal engagements: a Danish-Palestinian diaspora tour

    Nina Gren

    26. Idioms of care: aging and connectivity among older Turkish migrants in Sweden

    Öncel Naldemirci

    27. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey after the 2013 coup: organizational renewal and renegotiation in the diaspora

    Lucia Ardovini

    Part 6: Plurilocal diasporas, rethinking Mahjar

    28. The Hadrami diaspora: a plurilocal mahjar

    Iain Walker

    29. Hadrami connections with the Malay world: creole histories, transcultural Islam and racialisation

    Sumit K. Mandal

    30. Towards a new mode of reading Muslim diaspora writing: Muslimness and the homing desire in Abu-Jaber’s Crescent and Shafak’s The Saint of Incipient Insanities

    Neriman Kuyucu

    31. The Armenian Middle East: Boundaries, Pathways and Horizons

    Sossie Kasbarian

    32. Negotiating placemaking: private-public spaces and Hinduism in Oman

    Sandhya Roa Mehta


    Dalia Abdelhady is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Lund University, Sweden. Her work features the application of postcolonial analysis to the sociology of migration. Following a comparative perspective, her work focuses on the meeting point between individual immigrants (and their communities) and institutions in receiving countries (such as schools, labour markets, media and political policies). In addition to a number of journal articles and book chapters, she is the author of The Lebanese Diaspora: The Arab Immigrant Experiences in Montreal, New York and Paris (2011), and co-editor of Refugees and the Violence of Welfare Bureaucracies in Northern Europe (2020).

    Ramy Aly is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Ramy’s first monograph Becoming Arab in London: Performativity and the Undoing of Identity was published in 2015 with Pluto Press as part of their celebrated ‘Anthropology, Culture and Society Series’. The book is the first ethnographic account of gender, race and class practices among British-born and -raised Arabs in London and attempts to provide an account of the everyday experiences of Arabness in the British capital. Ramy’s research interests and publications engage with the anthropology of ethnicity, migration and diaspora; anthropology and media studies; cultural studies; and youth cultures.

    "This volume offers an impressive range of theoretically up-to-date studies of Middle Eastern diasporas both in the region and internationally that are particularly valuable in building on recent insights in the field of diaspora studies and applying them creatively to different communities in a time of increasing transnational movement and connection."

    Anthony Gorman, Senior Lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh, editor of Cultural Entanglements in the Pre-Independence Arab World

    "This is an excellent collection that showcases the richness of an anthropological approach to diasporic existence that never loses sight of people’s experiences. The individual chapters do justice to the diasporic communities they are investigating, and the book as a whole through its excellent curation manages the difficult task of giving a holistic sense of the multiple diasporic processes of departure and arrival that mark the Middle East."

    Ghassan Hage, Professor of Anthropology and Development Studies, Melbourne University, author of The Diasporic Condition

    "This groundbreaking volume is a tour de force, offering the single most comprehensive and transdisciplinary examination of Middle Eastern diasporas in the world today. Focusing on diasporic processes and sensibilities—or the multiple identifications and belongings of diasporans both within and well beyond the Middle Eastern region—this volume deconstructs controlling images and highlights instead the agency, creativity, dynamism, and global consciousness of those living in a wide range of diasporic settings. Historians, anthropologists, and political scientists of the Middle East will find this volume to be an invaluable resource, as will those interested in migration, globalization, and political activism."

    Marcia C. Inhorn, William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, Yale University, author of Cosmopolitan Conceptions