Panel 1 - Historical Perspectives
Thomas McDow, George Mason University

A Sense of Place: Arab World Diasporas and Migrations

The voluntary or forcible movement of peoples from and to the Arab world has rarely received inclusive and comprehensive treatment by students and scholars of the region. Yet historically, the Arab world has been at the crossroads of momentous diasporic migrations and settlements that were impelled by a host of social, political, and environmental factors, ranging from economic or cultural opportunities and large-scale demands for labor to political unrest, ethnic discrimination, and international conflict. Indeed, since the imposition of European colonial rule in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the subsequent emergence of independent post-colonial states, the Arab world has continued to witness important permanent and temporary waves of migration, dispersion and resettlement from, into, and within its geopolitical boundaries.

The Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies 2011 Annual Symposium on Arab World Diasporas and Migrations aims to promote the current empirical and analytical understanding of diasporic and migratory patterns in the region and beyond. Participating scholars and specialists from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Australia, and the United States will explore and present historical and contemporary perspectives on Arab diasporas and migrations through the lens of such varied themes as: the patterns of voluntary and forced migrations within the region; the wide-ranging incentives for Arab migrations and their impact on local socioeconomic structures; the integration and visibility of diasporic communities from and in the Arab world; the cultural and intellectual production by and about Arab diasporic and migrant communities.

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