Migrant Constructions: Transnational Art and Architecture of the Arab Diaspora in Modern Argentina


ACLS Fellowship Program


Fine and Performing Arts


This book project examines the art and architecture of the Arab diaspora in modern Argentina as a powerful vehicle for transnational self-representation. Argentina experienced one of the largest waves of mass migration in Latin America in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, ushering in diverse diaspora communities including Syrian and Lebanese immigrants from the Eastern Mediterranean. Syrian and Lebanese patrons in prominent Argentine cities from the capital to the provinces actively sponsored public monuments, social clubs, religious buildings and even hospitals over the course of the twentieth century. These sites, along with key artworks associated with them, are illustrated in this study as “migrant constructions”, which problematized and reconfigured nationalist debates and styles while contributing to the crafting of modernism. By tracing patterns of architectural patronage, transnational artistic networks, and stylistic modes of self-representation, the modern art and architecture sponsored by Arab-Argentine patrons and institutions is revealed as a critical tool for multiple forms of mobility in a proudly Euro-centric nation where Syrian and Lebanese migration was first contested.