AraBooks | Migrant Dreams: Egyptian Workers in the Gulf States – Professor Samuli Schielke
The Department of Arabic Language and Cultures presents
AraBooks: Literature, politics, society and the arts from the Arab world, the Middle East and its diasporas
Migrant Dreams: Egyptian Workers in the Gulf States
Professor Samuli Schielke (Leibniz-Centrum Moderner Orient ZMO, Berlin)
**Please note: this talk has been re-scheduled from Thursday 27 May 4.30pm to Thursday 3 June 3pm (AEST Sydney time)**
What kind of dreams for a good or better life drives labor migrants? What does being a migrant worker do to one’s hopes and ambitions? How does the experience of migration to the Gulf, with its attendant economic and legal precarities, shape migrants’ particular dreams of a better life? What do those dreams—be they realistic and productive, or fantastic and unlikely—do to the social worlds of the people who pursue them, and to their families and communities back home upon their return? Based on ten years of ethnographic fieldwork and conversations with Egyptian men from mostly low-income rural backgrounds who migrated as workers to the Gulf, returned home, and migrated again over a period of about a decade, Migrant Dreams explores and engages with these questions and more, as the men reflect on their strivings and the dreams they hope to fulfill. In his book talk, Samuli Schielke tells about how he ended up writing this book in this way, and about some of the new insights he is gaining in his new fieldwork, that hopefully will result in a sequel one day.
About the speaker
Samuli Schielke is a social and cultural anthropologist working on contemporary Egypt and its diasporas. He is a senior research fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), and associate primary investigator at Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies. He is author and editor of The Perils of Joy (2012), The Global Horizon (with Knut Graw, 2012), Ordinary Lives and Grand Schemes (with Liza Debevec, 2012), In Search of Europe? (with Daniela Swarowsky and Andrea Heister), Egypt in the Future Tense (2015), Migrant Dreams (2020), and Shared Margins (2021).
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AraBooks is a seminar series curated by the Department of Arabic Language and Cultures. It hosts a series of talks by scholars, writers and artists whose scholarship and artistic productions focus on the Arab World, the Middle East and its diasporas. Each semester we explore a thread through the discussion of a series of books and in conversation with their authors.
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