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Title: Rerouting the Persian Gulf: The Transnationalization of Iranian Migrant Networks, c.1900-1940
Authors: Stephenson, Lindsey
Advisors: Schayegh, Cyrus
Contributors: Near Eastern Studies Department
Keywords: Indian Ocean
Persian Gulf
Subjects: Middle Eastern history
Middle Eastern studies
Modern history
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation is a transnational social history of the transformation of relationships and identities around the Persian Gulf between 1900-1940. It approaches this history through the lens of Iranian migrants and their networks from southern Iran to Kuwait and Bahrain. By following these migrants, this study encounters and explores particular political, economic and social forces that impacted their movement and ultimately altered the way in which the littoral was connected. Although the Gulf was previously characterized by overlapping sovereignty of imperial, regional and local actors, in the early twentieth century the people who constantly moved back and forth across the water became a battleground of belonging. Emerging states explicitly directed new conceptions of territory, sovereignty, jurisdiction and belonging towards this borderland region of the Ottoman, Persian and British Empires. As much as political forces sought to regulate movement and identities by invoking legal boundaries between the eastern and western shores of the Gulf, they contended with forces undeterred by such structures; namely the global capital that pulled people to the western side and local actors who already knew the way. Iranians invented new strategies for navigating the rules and regulations of states. Rerouting their networks to smaller ports allowed for a slow and steady flow of goods and people to the opposite shores. In no small way Iranian migrants on the western shores of the Gulf shaped the rapidly changing world around them. From language to food to technology and the built environment, the numerous and varied connections between either side of the Gulf that was kept alive by Iranian migrants in fact wove the shores closer together socially and culturally even as politically the region was being broken apart. This study shows how movement within a single Persian Gulf arena came to be transnational; how traversing the water came to mean moving from one kind of space to another. It argues that although Iranians had been crossing the Gulf for centuries, the meaning of this movement changed in the early twentieth century, as did the scale.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Near Eastern Studies

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