New Directions in Middle Eastern and South Asian Immigration Histories: a Roundtable Discussion

Solicited by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS) Endorsed by the OAH-Japanese Association for American Studies Japan Historians' Collaborative Committee and WHA

Thursday, March 30, 2023, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Asian American; Ethnicity; Immigration and Internal Migration


This roundtable conversation convenes scholars working in Middle Eastern and South Asian immigration studies, two fields that simultaneously experience working as “a part of” and “apart from” Asian American studies. Panelists discuss the contours and challenges of working in Middle Eastern and South Asian immigration studies now, with attention to issues of racialization; class formation; border control; immigration restriction and mounting xenophobia in the United States. Participants will also query epistemological convergences between the two fields, and draw attention to how transnational ME/SA histories intersect with U.S. immigration and ethnic histories.

Session Participants

Chair and Commentator: Stacy Fahrenthold, University of California Davis
Stacy Fahrenthold is Associate Professor of Migration History at University of California Davis. She is the author of Between the Ottomans and the Entente: the First World War in the Syrian and Lebanese Diaspora (Oxford, 2019), and associate editor of Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies. Her broader research interests include labor migration and refugees in/from the modern Middle East; diaspora political activism; and Arab American labor histories.

Panelist: Neama Alamri, California State University, Fresno
Neama Alamri completed her PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities at University of California Merced, and was recently a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University. Her dissertation project, "Long Live the Arab Worker: a Transnational History of Labor and Empire in the Yemeni Diaspora," examines the immigration of Yemeni workers, and their subsequent labor activism in two industries: automotive manufacturing and farm work.

Panelist: Hardeep Dhillon, American Bar Foundation (ABF)
Hardeep Dhillon completed her PhD in History and Women's/Gender Studies at Harvard University, and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the American bar Foundation. her dissertation project, "Indians on the Move: Law, Borders, and Freedoms at the Turn of the Twentieth Century," examines the immigration/exclusion of colonial subjects from India and argues that border enforcement mechanisms went far beyond the physical sites of borders themselves.

Panelist: Sarah M. Gualtieri, University of Southern California
Sarah M.A. Gualtieri is Professor in the Departments of American Studies and Ethnicity, and History and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Middle East Studies at University of Southern California. Her research focuses on questions of race, gender, and migration. Specifically, she explores the movement of peoples and ideas from greater Syria to the Americas and has written on the theoretical, social and empirical implications of this movement. She is the author of Arab Routes: Syrian Pathways to California (Stanford 2020); Between Arab and White: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian Diaspora (California 2009); and numerous articles in Arab American studies.

Panelist: Uzma Quraishi, Sam Houston State University
Uzma Quraishi is Associate Professor of History at Sam Houston State University. She is a historian of recent America specializing in immigration, race and ethnicity, Asian American history, and the Cold War. She is the author of Redefining the Immigrant South: Indian and Pakistani Immigration to Houston During the Cold War (UNC New Directions in Southern Studies, 2020), awarded the 2021 Theodore Saloutos Book Prize by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, and numerous articles in South Asian immigration history.