Jared Mccormick, Affiliate Researcher at Center for Middle East Studies, Harvard University.
Paper Title: “Cascades of Displacement: Kurdish Syrian Migrant Men in Beirut”
Paper Abstract: This paper is based on fieldwork (2006-2013) with Syrian Kurdish laborers in the context of Beirut. I historically/ethnographically address how we might think through layers of a longue durée of “displacement”; Many of these men come from areas where Arabs were settled in the 60’s, had no formal “papers,” and grew up in a tenuous state in Syria. This was doubly complicated when climactic situations created waves of rural migration across Syria – and into neighboring Lebanon.
In the context of Beirut many of these men were viewed like other “Syrian worker,” but as the Syrian conflict intensified the rhetoric of the refugee, the figure of the “Syrian Male,” and Kurdish nationalism overshadowed many of these men’s place in Lebanon. How can we think through examples of Kurdish migrant men (pre/during-conflict) to problematize waves of displacement and belonging? How does “displacement” mesh – and cojoin – with migration? How might we understand these relationships through a sliding scale that cascades, overflowing from moments and events, to larger phases of our lives? I will present ethnographic material to problematize displacement akin to waves, overlapping scales of time and place.