Wednesday, March 14 –
Thursday, March 15, 2018
5:00 p.m. – 11:30 a.m.
CRITICAL MIGRATION AND REFUGEE STUDIES SERIES: SOFIAN MERABET, "STRANGE HOSPITALITY: GAY SYRIAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON"
Wednesday March 14
IBES Room 130, 85 Waterman Street
This paper engages with the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon and, specifically, considers how queer-identified Syrians navigate an often-hostile environment in and around the Lebanese capital Beirut. Drawing on hospitality as a philosophical concept and on the sociological notion of the stranger, this paper focuses on discourses and aspirations these refugees express, in terms of language and bodily practices, in the face of what many experience as “hardened borders” within the social fabric of the host country. These discourses and aspirations frequently amount to practices that engender new forms of (im)mobility that, in turn, create zones of encounter for individuals with varying class, sectarian, and gender backgrounds. In addressing these emerging zones of encounter, the paper looks at what Merabet would call the “aborted pluralism” for many gay Syrian refugees in Beirut and, therefore, what it actually means to be a gay Syrian refugee in Lebanon today. In so doing, it zooms in ethnographically on the eastern Beiruti suburbs of Borj Hammoud and Sadd al-Baouchrieh and reflects on their transformations over the past century, from an early settlement for survivors of the Armenian genocide, mostly in the case of the former, to a place of residence for many domestic workers hailing from South(east) Asia and Eastern Africa. Today, both of these urban districts are two of the principal settings in Lebanon where the complicated politics of what Merabet calls “strange hospitality" can best be assessed.
Thursday, March 15
10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
CSREA, 96 Waterman Street
Kindly RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite faculty and students to join us for a small-group seminar with Sofian Merabet, associate professor in the department of Anthropology at The University of Texas at Austin. Professor Merabet will introduce his new work, which is fictional in nature, but still based on archival research and ethnographic interviews. He will discuss the context of this work, read some passages, and elaborate on potential problems in terms of methodology.
Critical Migration and Refugee Studies Series
The Critical Migration and Refugee Studies Series dynamically considers the crucial issues of racial, ethnicity and migration in the contexts of displacement. A CSREA Faculty Grant Event organized by Kevin Escudero, Assistant Professor of American Studies.
Middle East Studies
U.S. Latino Studies Fund
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Department of Sociology
Department of Africana Studies