Elmirasadat Alihosseini

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Toronto, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9581

Approve Date

April 14, 2018

Project Title

Alihosseini, Elmirasadat, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Neighborhood: Afghan Refugees's Belonging in Iran,' supervised by Dr. Amira Mittermaier

Preliminary abstract: Historically a large number of Afghans have been present in Iran as pilgrims, seminary students, seasonal laborers, and traders. However, after a massive wave of immigration to Iran following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, these long-standing forms of migration were overlaid by the category of refugee (the mohajerin). This research investigates Afghans’ livelihoods in Iran by attending to the durable and ephemeral forms of sociality that they have forged with their non-refugee neighbors in mixed, low-income neighborhoods of Mashhad in which they have been long-time residents. Over the course of 12 months, I will follow the work that Afghan refugees have undertaken and continue to undertake to weave themselves into these neighborhoods through quotidian forms of sociality such as: informal documentation pertaining to property ownership, credit associations, intermarriage, as well as ephemeral gestures of hospitality. My dissertation explores the way in which Afghans’ refugeeness is anchored in the city form in Iran (rather than the camp). It asks how shared conditions of urban poverty and the socialities that such conditions give rise to inflect the experience of the refugee and the possibility of making communal futures despite the legal and economic precarities generated by statelessness.