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Events

Upcoming Talk: Mestizaje In Arab Amairka

By: | posted on: Feb 13, 2020

Date/Time
Date(s) - 02/13/2020
4:10 pm - 6:00 pm

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Location
606 West 122 Street

Categories

Cost:
USD
Contact Person:

Email:
mei@columbia.edu
Website:
https://www.mei.columbia.edu/mei-event/upcoming-talk-mestizaje-in-arab-amairka
Phone:
212-854-2201
Organization:
The Middle East Institute


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

This talk draws on the discourse of mestizaje, or mixture and cultural hybridity, in order to revisit central themes in the history of Arab America. It uses the example of Hajj Ali, or “Hi Jolly,” an Ottoman camel-handler in the U.S. military expedition toward California in 1857, to discuss migration and mobility in the early Middle Eastern American diaspora. Rather than reproduce the reading of Hajj Ali as “an early Arab American,” a patriotic Muslim, and one of the “first” Syrians in the United States, the talk explores his marriage to a Mexican American woman in Arizona as a way to rethink idealized notions of family and community in Arab American historiography. It posits mestizaje as a useful interpretive framework for focusing on the overlooked histories of inter-ethnic contact and Latino/a-Arab interchanges in the US- Mexico borderlands.

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