Beyond the “Clash of Civilisations”: Arab diasporas and transnational identities

Professor Akram Khater, Director of the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, North Carolina State University

Co-presented with the Department of Arabic Language and Cultures for the conference Arab Diasporas: Migration, Citizenship, and Transnational Identities.

21 March, 2016

The idea of “East” and “West” as immutable and irreconcilable cultures, geographies and civilisations has been around for a long while. It has been used in various guises to imagine a “Middle East” that is the antithesis of – and inferior to – the “West” in values, practices and ideas. Arab migration to the “West” profoundly undermines this persistent argument, and the peregrinations of millions of Arab migrants lays bare its inherent contradictions.

This talk will explore how Arab migration to the US shaped both the Middle East and the US, and tied them together inexorably through the movement of people, ideas and commodities over the past 150 years.


Akram Khater

Professor Akram Khater is Professor of History at North Carolina State University, holds the Khayrallah Chair in Diaspora Studies, and also serves as the Director of the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies. He is currently the editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies, and the President of the Arab American Studies Association.

He is the recipient of many awards (Outstanding Teacher and Outstanding Extension Faculty), and has also obtained fellowships, from the National Humanities Center and the Fulbright Foundation, among others. His books include Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender and the Making of a Lebanese Middle Class, 1861-1921, and Embracing the Divine: Passion and Politics in the Christian Middle East.