Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNew York, Graduate Center, City U. of
Grant numberGr. 9773
Approve DateOctober 30, 2018
Project TitleSajadian, China S., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'From Migrants to Refugees: Histories of Migration and Agricultural Labor in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Mandana Limbert
CHINA SAJADIAN, a graduate student at the CUNY Graduate Center, received a grant in October 2018 to aid research on ‘From Migrants to Refugees: Histories of Migration and Agricultural Labor in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon,’ supervised by Dr. Mandana Limbert. This ethnographic project was conducted for eighteen months in the Syrian-Lebanese borderlands, including daily labor among Syrian refugee-farmworkers, immersion in the everyday life of refugee camps, and archival research in periodicals and private holdings. It examined how a loss of cross-border mobility for Syrian farmworkers throughout the Syrian war has reconfigured agrarian relations in the region. Findings show that shift from seasonal to forced migration generates new inequalities that subtly intersect with a moral economy of long-standing idioms of obligation. Facing the dual loss of social benefits from the Syrian welfare state and an independent source of seasonal subsistence from their land in Syria, displaced farmworkers have become increasingly dependent on hierarchical bonded labor arrangements to cope with the higher cost of living in Lebanon year-round. Combining insights from agrarian studies and migration studies, the research recasts the classic ‘agrarian question’ as a ‘migrant question’ to develop a broader theory about agrarian transformation and mobility in times of war.