POMEPS Studies 44 – Racial Formations in Africa and the Middle East: A Transregional Approach

In February 2020, the editors of this volume organized a POMEPS workshop that explored the origins of the disciplinary divide between the study of Africa and the Middle East, examining issues that span both regions (i.e., cross-border conflict, Islamist politics, social movements and national identity, and Gulf interventionism.) In February 2021, we convened another workshop, sponsored by POMEPS and the newly-founded Program on African Social Research (PASR, pronounced Pasiri) centered on racial formations and racialization across the two regions. Both workshops centered around the need for a genuinely transregional scholarship, one which rejects artificial divisions between ostensibly autonomous regions while also taking seriously the distinctive historical trajectories and local configurations of power which define national and subregional specificities. The workshop brought together nearly two dozen scholars from across multiple disciplines to explore the historical and contemporary politics of racial formation across Africa and the Middle East.




Hisham Aidi, Columbia University, Program on African Social Research  

Marc Lynch, George Washington University, Project on Middle East Political Science, Program on African Social Research

Zachariah Mampilly, Baruch College, Program on African Social Research

The Seduction of Comparisons: Untouchability beyond Caste in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East

Diana S. Kim, Georgetown University

No One’s Memory: Blackness at the Limits of Comparative Slavery

Parisa Vaziri, Cornell University 

Essentialism, secrecy, and the fear of losing ‘clean’ status: Insights into the legacies of slavery in Madagascar

Denis Regnier, University of Global Health Equity

Islam, Race and Cape Town

Sean Jacobs, The New School

Putting Northwest Africa in its place

Wendell Marsh, Rutgers University-Newark

Anti-Black Racism and Slavery in Desert and Non-Desert Zones of North Africa

Stephen J. King, Georgetown University

Blackness, slavery and anti-racism activism in contemporary North Africa

Eric Hahonou, Roskilde University

The Racial Politics of the Amazigh Revival in North Africa and Beyond

Paul A. Silverstein, Reed College

Disarticulating blackness or the semantics of (anti)blackness in Tunisia

Afifa Ltifi, Cornell University

Waiting and Working: Shared Difference and Labors of Belonging in Immigrant Tangier

George Bajalia, Wesleyan University

Helmi Sharawy’s Critique of Racial and Colonial Paradigms in Egyptian African Studies

Zeyad el Nabolsy, Cornell University

The Contradictions of Afro-Arab Solidarity(ies): The Aswan High Dam and the Erasure of the Global Black Experience

Bayan Abubakr, Yale University

Narrating Nubia: Between Sentimentalism and Solidarity

Yasmin Moll, University of Michigan

Race after Revolution: Imagining Blackness and Africanity in the “New Sudan”

Zachary Mondesire, University of California, Los Angeles 

Racial tropism in Afro-Arab relations. Notes based on some ordinary incident

Abdourahmane Seck, Université Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis, Sénégal

Interrogating Race in Gulf Studies

Amélie Le Renard, Centre Maurice Halbwachs, Paris & Neha Vora, Lafayette College

The Kafala System as Racialized Servitude

Sumayya Kassamali, University of Toronto

Who counts as “People of the Gulf”? Disputes over the Arab status of Zanzibaris in the UAE

Noora Lori, Boston University & Yoana Kuzmova, Boston University

East African birth and Omani ethnic descent: a social history of Omani citizenship 1970-1990

Nathaniel Mathews, Binghamton University 

Identity and War: The Power of Labeling

Sabria Al-Thawr, Sana’a University

Black and Yemeni: Myths, Genealogies, and Race

Gokh Amin Alshaif, University of California, Santa Barbara

Erasure and Affect in Race-Making in Turkey

Deniz Duruiz, Northwestern University

Anti-Palestinian Racism: Analyzing the Unnamed and Suppressed Reality

Yasmeen Abu-Laban, University of Alberta & Abigail B. Bakan, University of Toronto 

Jewish Illegality: the case of Ethiopian Jews between 1955-1975

Efrat Yerday, Tel Aviv University

Racial Formations in the Middle East and Africa

Noah Salomon, University of Virginia  

Reflections on Race Formation in Comparative Context

Ann McDougall, University of Alberta, Canada