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Methods in Researching Migration

Prof. Ghassan Hage

Participants are encouraged to come to write a page or so explaining their research interest and the theoretical and methodological issues that interest them.

Diasporic Horizons

Prof. Vincent Crapanzano

This workshop will be concerned with the way people construct their horizons of possibility and how these constructions are socially and politically limited. I would like to direct attention to the conventional and particular horizons-centers, homelands—that develop in diasporic contexts. It is hoped that the participants will bring to the discussion concrete cases and instances from their own research and experiences

Finding Voices, Tracing Lives: Issues in Writing History of Peasant Immigrants

Prof. Akram Khater

The general thrust will be to focus on the difficulty in gathering material to write about the lives of immigrant peasants, the majority of whom were illiterate. This becomes all the more critical to the story of immigration from Mount Lebanon when practically all immigrants were peasants from mountain villages. I will specifically address the main sources of information that allowed me to overcome some (but not all) of these difficulties:

  1. Interviews conducted with immigrants and their descendents in the 1960s
  2. Newspapers
  3. Photographs
  4. Letters and auto-biographies
  5. Literature (Jibran, Nu’aymeh, etc.)
  6. Papers of Family associations
  7. Early histories (Hitti, etc.)

The second problematic will be the artificial dichotomy between national and diasporic history. In particular, most histories assume that immigrants do not return, and when they do their impact on homeland history is negligible. Given the high rate of return the question that I faced in my work is how does one evaluate the impact of returning immigrants on society in Lebanon. To illustrate this I will focus on architecture and the transformation of the rural and urban landscape.

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