Accepted Paper:

Multiple movements across national and cultural boundaries: an ethnographic case study of diasporic scholars teaching in Saudi Arabia  

Author:

Worku Nida (UCR)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how multiple migrations shape people's identity and sense of belonging, analyzes the religious and racial politics of identity, with a focus on how multiple trajectories of movement shape hierarchies of citizenship; and contributes to discourses of migration and identity.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines how multiple migrations shape people's identity and sense of belonging. The paper is based on my ethnographic study on twenty multiply-migrated individuals of diverse disciplinary, cultural, and national backgrounds; who are/were teaching at Alfaisal University (AU) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. What does citizenship mean for a Muslim Pakistani professor of philosophy who arrived at AU through multiple trajectories (after living and working in Pakistan, the U.S., Canada, and Oman)? What does family mean for a Christian Chinese-South African professor of medicine at AU, who lived, worked, and had children in the US, then moved to Australia and became an Australian citizen, then lived and worked in Scotland; and came to Saudi Arabia? What kinds of alternative arrangements do such people make for their personal, family, and professional lives? Using some of my informants' narratives such as "being a Pakistani in Saudi Arabia is a curse," I aim to analyze the religious and racial politics of identity and citizenship, with a focus on how multiple trajectories of movement shape hierarchies of citizenship and identity that are manifested through differential treatments of people in terms of respect, salary, benefits, and promotions. In doing so, I intend to contribute to anthropological discourses of migration and identity.

Panel RM-CPV04
Moving and moving again: embodied identifications along multiple trajectories