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The Lebanese Diaspora

The Lebanese Diaspora: The Arab Immigrant Experience in Montreal, New York, and Paris

Dalia Abdelhady
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 242
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  • Book Info
    The Lebanese Diaspora
    Book Description:

    The Lebanese are the largest group of Middle Eastern immigrants in the United States, and Lebanese immigrants are also prominent across Europe and the Americas. Based on over eighty interviews with first-generation Lebanese immigrants in the global cities of New York, Montreal and Paris, this book shows that the Lebanese diaspora - like all diasporas - constructs global relations connecting and transforming their new societies, previous homeland and world-wide communities. Taking Lebanese immigrants' forms of identification, community attachments and cultural expression as manifestations of diaspora experiences, Dalia Abdelhady delves into the ways members of Lebanese diasporic communities move beyond nationality, ethnicity and religion, giving rise to global solidarities and negotiating their social and cultural spaces.The Lebanese Diaspora explores new forms of identities, alliances and cultural expressions, elucidating the daily experiences of Lebanese immigrants and exploring new ways of thinking about immigration, ethnic identity, community, and culture in a global world. By criticizing and challenging our understandings of nationality, ethnicity and assimilation, Abdelhady shows that global immigrants are giving rise to new forms of cosmopolitan citizenship.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-0545-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 Global Immigrants: Three Views on Diaspora
    (pp. 1-40)

    In December 2008 I set out to obtain an entry visa from the German Consulate in Cairo, preparing to attend an academic workshop there. I was in Cairo visiting my family and thought that spending a day of my vacation at the consulate would be better than taking the time from my busy teaching schedule in the US. After a long wait, I handed the receptionist the stack of required papers for my visa. She took one quick look at my papers and exclaimed that my application could not be processed at the consulate in Cairo, since the supporting documents...

  5. 2 Narratives of Identification: Between Ethnicity and Cosmopolitanism
    (pp. 41-88)

    When I first started collecting research data for this book in the summer of 2001, I was invited by a Lebanese American acquaintance to ahafle, or ethnic party, at a Maronite church in one of New York’s suburbs. I saw this as a good opportunity to observe the community that I had set out to study and possibly to recruit respondents who would agree to be interviewed. As an Egyptian, I had assumed that I would be easily welcomed into the Lebanese community in New York since I share a language and culture with its members. I also considered...

  6. 3 The Power of Community: Beyond Homeland and Host Society
    (pp. 89-132)

    Like many of my respondents, I learned the meaning of being Arab in the United States. Growing up in Egypt, I studied Arab nationalism and the construction of a pan-ethnic Arab identity that was based on shared historical struggles and political interests. Aside from official narratives of coherent Arab ethnicity told in our history books, the decades of the 1970s and 1980s were fraught with fragmentation and conflict among Arab nations, and most people around me did not see themselves as Arabs.¹ Arriving in the United States, however, I sought out other Arabs, as this seemed a logical approach to...

  7. 4 Cultures of Expression: Translation, Remembrance, and Global Burden
    (pp. 133-174)

    The previous chapters analyze forms of identification and social solidarity created by members of the Lebanese diaspora. On the one hand, Lebanese immigrants are in a constant process of identifying with their homeland and host societies. Additionally, they identify with other members of the larger diaspora, which leads to their engagement in global communities. This chapter addresses the topic of diasporic cultural expression to illustrate ways in which the Lebanese diaspora engages in global and local cultural practices that parallel their multilayered forms of identification and community involvement. The definition of culture that I use encompasses culture as a way...

  8. 5 Conclusion: Global Predicaments and Cosmopolitan Quarrels
    (pp. 175-198)

    I was introduced to Michel through other Lebanese friends. He is the first respondent I interviewed, and luckily he quickly became interested in my research project and offered much appreciated help. He lived in New York but knew others in Montreal and Paris and promised to introduce me to them. In the fall of 2001 I joined him on my first trip to Montreal as a researcher. I had visited the city before but had not established any contacts with possible informants. We arrived in the city after dinner time, on a Friday night, without any plan to meet specific...

  9. Appendix: Profile of Respondents
    (pp. 199-200)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 201-210)
  11. References
    (pp. 211-222)
  12. Index
    (pp. 223-230)
  13. About the Author
    (pp. 231-231)