Routes of Race: Migration between Ottoman Syria, Mandate Lebanon, and the United States, 1881-1945


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


American Studies


“Routes of Race” examines the multiple routes migrants from Ottoman Syria took to and through North America in the first half of the twentieth century. Using archival sources from France, Lebanon, and the United States, it analyzes the encounters between peoples from Syria and power structures along their itineraries, and the ways these confrontations produced competing racial, gender, and class formations. French, US, and Ottoman state and non-state actors had stakes in this traveling population, and asserted control over them during their transit. As these powers drew the global color line, Syrian migrants both disrupted and helped shape it through their mobility. This project shows that processes of migration—tickets, borders, transit zones—reveal the inner workings of race, empire, and capital. Sitting at the intersection of ethnic studies and transnational history, this study stresses mobility as a key process of racial formation.