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Understanding Anti-Black and Anti-Arab Racism from a Comparative Perspective

Panel II-31, 2023 Annual Meeting

On Thursday, November 2 at 5:30 pm

Panel Description
  • This paper attempts to understand contemporary composition of labouring classes in urban spaces with a focus on west Istanbul. As a metropolis hosting a sizeable number of Syrian refugees, internally displaced Kurds and low-wage Turkish population, Istanbul is a laboratory to examine the racialized character of hyper exploitation that surplus populations experience in labour-intensive sectors. Crucial to Turkey’s contemporary capital accumulation strategy, surplus value which is extracted from the labour power of hierarchically situated ethnic communities cannot be understood without critical race and political economy perspectives. This paper is based on the fieldwork conducted in multi-ethnic districts and workplaces in west Istanbul, where working poor from different ethnic backgrounds encounter each other in tension-ridden circumstances. The production spaces and reproduction sites create hybrid racialization dynamics along which fractures occur. This paper attempts to contribute to the study of racialization by looking at the phenomenon from the Global South.
  • This research considers how Germany’s longer history of race-based citizenship and anti-foreigner racism influence how migrants and Ausländers (foreigners) are perceived, discussed, and treated. It highlights how the racialized nature of German citizenship policy and contemporary state refugee policy influence current integration discourse and policy. Moreover, although Germany declares itself a humanitarian and liberal society, the rise of racial nationalism, right-wing populism, and anti-foreigner racism demonstrates an unwillingness to accept that Germany is becoming a religiously plural and multi-racial/ethnic nation. Using in-depth interview with first- and second-generation Iranians in Hamburg, Germany, I examine the experiences of Iranians’ position as “good foreigners” in Germany to illustrate existing racial/ethnic boundaries, differentiation, and hierarchies, and to underscore the limitations of cultural competence, citizenship, and economic mobility in ameliorating marginality and discrimination. Additionally, I illustrate how the post-Global Refugee Crisis climate social and political climate and the rise of racial nationalism and right-leaning political parties, like the Alternative for Germany (AfD), have re-ignited anti-foreigner racism in Germany, resulting in significant experiences of wariness, threat, racial stigma, and conditional belonging among Iranians in Germany.
  • My PhD dissertation preliminary titled: “black at the intersection: African Palestinian experiences under Ihtilal” focusses of the arrivals/constructions of the African community of the old city of Jerusalem, al-Jaliya al-Ifriqiya of al-Quds. During my ethnographic fieldwork, part of the answers to my questions came from the east side of the river Jordan, and the location of al-Jaliya al-Ifriqiya of al-Quds in Jerusalem’s counterpart, Amman. In this paper, I focus on the crossing of community, how it is connected/disconnected to Palestine, How the community meets and diverges by way of crossing to the other side, and importantly what does that inform my research about Jerusalem and the creation of identities/community. I take stories of origin as entry points to further discuss and analyze the becomings of al-Jaliya al-Ifriqiya of al-Quds within and outside of Jerusalem. I use the term becoming, as I draw on the work of Stuart Hall, in which he argues that cultural identities are not a matter of ontology or of being, but of becoming, they are therefore never static or final but always occurring, unraveling, and changing. This paper is informed by ethnographic field research; including participant observation and interviews, conducted in Jerusalem and in Amman in 2021/2022.
  • Today, Black communities constitute significant minorities in many Arab Middle East states. The presence of large numbers of Black communities in the region was largely the result of the Trans-Saharan slave trade and settlement of pilgrims. While Black Arabs routinely face personal discrimination, there is a variation in their cultural representation, socio-economic conditions, and access to political power between the states in the region. Comparatively speaking, Saudi Arabia has been more successful in integrating its Black citizens, who make up 15 percent of the population with an estimate of 3.5 million people. This paper has two objectives. First, it aims to identify the extent to which Afro-Saudis have been integrated and included within the Saudi nation legally, culturally, economically and politically. Second, it aims to explore the extent to which nation-building in Saudi Arabia, where loyalties had traditionally been tied to tribal affiliations, was successful in developing a strong and overarching sense of national identity, allowing Black communities an enroute to inclusion. In addition to secondary sources, the paper relies on interviews for its analysis and argument.