China Sajadian F'21

China  Sajadian
Doctoral Candidate
Anthropology
City University of New York, The Graduate Center

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2021
Doctoral Candidate
Anthropology
City University of New York, The Graduate Center
Debts of Displacement: Syrian Refugee Farmworkers at the Lebanese-Syrian Border

The tiny state of Lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. Yet, contrary to the dominant image of deracinated refugees in unfamiliar territory, significant numbers of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are former labor migrants. Based on eighteen months of ethnographic research in the Lebanese-Syrian borderlands, this dissertation traces “debts of displacement” that have emerged from Syrian farmworkers’ loss of seasonal mobility during the Syrian war. This unique case of migrants-turned-refugees demonstrates that displacement encompasses more than the traumatic event of wartime uprooting. Displacement is, rather, an ongoing process embedded in debts across generations, bound by histories of agrarian labor, wealth distribution, and forms of interdependence on both sides of the border.