Middle East Migrations

An International Conference
July 11 & 12, 2022


Withers Hall, 331
North Carolina State University

New Perspectives on Middle East Migrations

The Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, in conjunction with the editors of Mashriq & MahjarThe Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies, will host an international scholarly conference on Middle East and North African migrations on July 11 & 12, 2022. The conference will be held at North Carolina State University (Raleigh, North Carolina, USA) in  Withers Hall, Room 331.

 What was once a marginal, passing interest for scholars of the region and its place in the world is now a flourishing and vibrant field, bringing together a host of disciplines, from history, anthropology, geography, and sociology to comparative literature and cultural studies, and from refugee studies to political economy and settler colonial studies.

With this in mind, this conference will highlight the work of a broad range of scholars who provide original insight, by opening up new paths of inquiry and shedding light on neglected subjects, but also by suggesting methodological innovations and offering perspectives on the field’s development.

Conference Program

Monday, July 11

9:00 - 9:45 ~ Coffee & Pastries

9:45 AM - 10 AM ~ Opening Remarks ~ Dean Deanna Dannels, Humanities and Social Sciences & Akram Khater, Director of the Khayrallah Center

10 AM -12 PM ~ Homelands lost and found 

  • Diogo Bercito (Georgetown University), In São Paulo, thinking of Homs: Gender and long-distance nationalism in Salwa Atlas' publications
  • Sossie Kasbarian (University of Stirling), ‘Return’ to the ‘Homeland’ – Syrian Armenians in Armenia
  • Uğur Peçe (Lehigh University), Sense of Protest: Cretan Refugee Activists in the Late Ottoman Empire


12:00 PM - 1 PM Lunch


1 PM - 3 PM ~ Diasporic Trajectories

  • Joseph Leidy (Brown University), El Zaím: Youth, Political Authority, and Syrian Nationalism in the Mahjar, 1938-1947
  • Eibhlin Priestly (University of Cambridge), “In truth, I was really a pioneer”: Palestinian women’s agency and selfhood formation in North and South America, 1914-1938
  • Heather Sharkey, (University of Pennsylvania), The Case of Bamba Müller: From Cairo and Lahore to London and Seattle [VIRTUAL]


3 PM - 3:30 PM Coffee Break


3:30 PM - 5:30 PM ~ States of being

  • Lauren Banko (University of Glasgow), Making the illegal migrant: the accused, the accusers, and the creation of immigration law in Palestine and Syria, 1920-1950
  • Michael Ewers (UNC Charlotte), Kafala, hierarchy and bargaining power: Varieties of migration experience in the Gulf
  • Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet (University of Pennsylvania), Banning and Belonging: Iranians of Bahrain, Kuwait and Dubai, circa. 1900-1950 [VIRTUAL]

Tuesday, July 12

10 AM - 12 PM ~ Writing and archiving diaspora 

  • Joshua Donovan (UC Berkeley), Refashioning Home: Nationalism, Religion, and Gender in the Syro-Lebanese Diaspora [VIRTUAL]
  • Veronica Ferreri (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient), The Archive as a Form of Care in the Syrian Diaspora
  • Ghenwa Hayek (University of Chicago), One Way Tickets to the Jnoub: Unidirectional Correspondence in Diaspora Writing


12 PM  - 1 PM Lunch


1 PM - 3:30 PM ~ (Re)mapping diaspora 

  • Francesca Ceola (Technische Universität, Berlin), Exploring counter cartographies: migrant infrastructures and overlapping territorialisations in the campscape of Shatila, Beirut
  • China Sajadian (Smith College), “The Drowned and the Displaced: Afterlives of Agrarian Developmentalism Across the Lebanese-Syrian Border [VIRTUAL]
  • James Thomas (University of Mississippi), Collective Memory and Lebanese Mississippians in the Jim Crow Era
  • Ann-Christin Zuntz (University of Edinburgh), In the skies over Sofia – How Syrian women in Bulgaria have “become” refugees


3:30 PM - 4:00 PM Coffee Break


4 PM - 4:30 PM ~ Concluding Remarks