Migration in the Making of the Gulf Space: Political, Social and Cultural Dimensions

Diana Gluck's picture
Call for Papers
September 10, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies

Workshop Migration in the Making of the Gulf Space: Political, Social and Cultural Dimensions

17-18 December 2019, Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Berlin, Germany

The Gulf states are often examined along the lens of the existing divide of native and migrant population which results from political and economic regimes that create parallel societies with little interaction between them. However, as an epistemological perspective, this approach does not allow one to grasp processes of place-making and transmission of knowledge which are taking place in the Gulf, and that are the outcome of the dialogical interaction between citizens and non-citizens. Moreover, narratives on migration in the cultural scene –Arab authors writing in Arabic on foreign migrants and migrant literature in a myriad of languages – speak of similar preoccupations regarding questions of citizenship and belonging.

The engagement with migrant populations as the ‘other’ in the national space rather than ‘as part of’ the national space is unable to address a range of issues which are already a reality in these societies, such as naturalization policies and the common state of permanent temporariness, the question of the ‘second’ generation of migrant origin raised in the Gulf who feel attached to this space, the continued socialization for decades in specific socio-political regimes, etc. Rather than the migrant as the ‘other’ versus the state citizen, or migration as an ‘extension’ of the Gulf, we move to observe the region as the result of a sum of these exchanges.

The aim of this workshop is to analyse how migration is shaping the Gulf through the construction of new spaces. It focuses on the product of interactions in the political, economic, social and cultural fields. The production of space in the Gulf raises problematics regarding citizenship and belonging, labour regimes and economic models, political authority and social movements, social imaginaries and cultural representations. Therefore, the intention of this academic exchange is to investigate the transformative implications of migration and to address new dimensions of the topic that have so far received less attention in existing scholarship. These dimensions can encompass the immigrants’ engagement with the Gulf societies, Gulf imaginaries by prospective migrants, and the management of migration between sending and receiving states. At the same time, little is known beyond political debates of how Gulf nationals perceive and are affected by migration processes in their domestic or immediate social lives since they are often portrayed as impassive employers with little interest in the migrants’ conditions. Knowing that some of these questions invite broader theoretical reflection, the Gulf model(s) can serve to discuss dimensions of citizenship, labour, and political authority in the twentieth-first century.

We seek original contributions from scholars from a range of disciplines addressing these issues who want to participate in this academic exchange that will take place at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient on 17-18 December 2019. Interested candidates must submit a 500-word abstract and a CV by 10 September 2019 in which they state clearly the topic, the research question and the methodology. Selected candidates will be asked to submit a full original paper (between 5000-7000 words) by 18 November 2019. After the workshop there will be a selection of papers, for purposes of publication, either in a scientific peer-review journal or an edited volume. Travel (economy class) and accommodation expenses will be covered by the organization.

Please, send your abstracts to: makinggulfspace@zmo.de

Convenors: Antia Mato Bouzas (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient) Lorenzo Casini (University of Messina)

Contact Info: 

Antia Mato Bouzas (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient) & Lorenzo Casini (University of Messina)

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