Call for Contributions

The Routledge Handbook on Middle Eastern Diaspora

Edited by Dalia Abdelhady
Lund University

The Routledge Handbook on Middle Eastern Diasporas is the first attempt to bring together different strands of research on the topic. Research on various Middle Eastern diasporas has taken place over the last few decades, and as such a compendium of existing research is needed to take stock and provide a needed reference on the topic. At the same time, the field of Middle Eastern diasporas is still relatively new and a compendium on the state-of-the-art research would act as a source of insights for new research trajectories. Moreover, the handbook would shed light on diverse approaches to investigating diaspora groups in different national contexts, and therefore prove valuable to the general field of migration studies.

While the first goal of the handbook is to group research on diaspora communities connected to the Middle East, it is also intended to provide an innovative approach to the study of diasporas. Like most diaspora groups, Middle Eastern diasporas have often been associated with the political and social conflicts that characterize much research on the region and its people. While existing research highlights the political and economic connections between the various groups of Middle Eastern diaspora and their homelands, little research has approached the study of Middle Eastern diasporas from a more global perspective. As global citizens responding to major social transformations, such as neoliberal economic crises, democratization, and mobility, members of Middle Eastern diasporas also contribute to global citizenship, transnational social spaces, and new forms of cultural expressions. Contributors are encouraged to engage with these topics, among others.


Composed of three major sections, the handbook starts with an introductory chapter outlining the contours of Middle Eastern Diaspora studies and presenting the different sections of the book.

The first section provides a general context for the empirical chapters by bringing together conceptual arguments, historical dynamics, and theoretical approaches used within the field of diaspora studies. Chapters in this section would interrogate methodological arguments as integral to the study of diasporas and highlight the importance of diaspora dynamics for challenging methodological nationalism that characterizes much of the migration literature.

Focusing on national contexts as spaces for diaspora formations, dynamics, and articulations, the second and third sections look at diaspora within and outside the Middle East respectively. The units of analysis for the different chapters in these two sections are the diaspora groups themselves, and the chapters would highlight historical formations, trajectories of displacements, social and political dynamics, and connections to the homeland. Special attention is to be paid to organizational structures that are part of the diasporic formations under study, and comparative analyses are of particular interest.

The fourth section brings in the modes of expression that characterize diasporic performativity and broadens understandings of diasporic engagement with the homeland beyond institutional structures. This last section places global dynamics at the center of analysis and provides means for studying diaspora communities beyond national groups as units of analysis.

Key themes

• Conceptual and methodological issues in the study of Middle East diasporas

• Migrant workers, refugees and diasporic formations

• Social transformations: political and economic changes

• Migrations, diasporas and the Arab Uprisings

• Theorizing state and diaspora relations

• Homeland politics and political mobilizations

• Middle Eastern states as receiving contexts for diasporas

• Methodological nationalism and Intersectionality

• Historical formations of diasporic groups

• Expressing/performing diasporas

• Diasporas in the Middle East

• Diasporas of the Middle East


Please send an extended abstract (500 words) outlining your chapter idea by March 1st, 2019 to Dalia Abdelhady (dalia.abdelhadycme.luse). Completed chapters would be expected by September 15th, 2019 and should be 8000 words in length. All submissions will be reviewed by an editorial board for the handbook. Please contact the editor with further enquires.