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Areas of Expertise/Keywords:
Syrian refugee women, Michigan, international regime of refugee protection, subjectivity, loss, urban space, white nationalism, and immigration policies
Focusing on Syrian refugees displaced after 2011 conflict in Syria, as the symptom of immigration and refugee crisis in the midst of right wing populist resurgence across the world, my research takes up Syrian women as its subjects to look at the current crisis from a feminist perspective. The field research is Michigan and mostly cities of Dearborn and Lansing where in I seek to register the daily, individual or collective struggles of the new arrived Syrian women mostly Muslim, living in a non-Muslim context. The phrase, ‘Muslim refugee women’, is a trope used in the research to explain or to unfold what it means to be legally prescribed as ‘the subject’ of human rights documents and conventions; what are the effects of these legal terms; and to what extent the pre-given definitions might be open or limiting the existence of its newly arrived Syrian women. Moving in between physical and non-physical borders I would investigate the processes of recognition as “eligible” for seeking refuge and to get provided assistance as the right holder and in need of protection. I have tried to make sense of their mobility in the city, their social gatherings, interactions, needs, triumphs and fears in building new relations with the cities and people in their non-monolithic voices. The research will also deploy an ethnographic and historical view to Detroit metro areas developed by Syrian families. This segment attempts to cover a policy analysis of the urban planning in Michigan, including the immigrant and refugees geographical mapping and their social locations.
Areas of Expertise/Keywords:
Gender and Migration | Gender, Race, Poverty | Transnational Feminism | Globalization and Labor Migration | Women of Color | Feminisms | Intersectionality | Economic Inequality
Lisa Reber is a doctoral graduate in Justice Studies. Her dissertation project focuses on temporary guestworkers programs and how these systems and the structural vulnerability they engender impact the emotional well-being of this migrant population. Using the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a case study, it examines the social structures, social institutions, and social processes that contribute to well-being or despair, asking specifically why individuals who had never had suicidal thoughts in their home country did so after migrating to the host country. She argues that suicidal thoughts are the canary in the coal mine. They signal that circumstances are unbearable.
Reber’s research is interdisciplinary and draws on multiple disciplines from within the social sciences to guide how she approaches and thinks about the processes and impacts of migration. It is concerned with social systems and social relations and how they can oppress or provide resilience. It draws heavily on sociocultural anthropology as it seeks to understand people’s values and why they make certain choices. It also draws from geography in its analysis of space, boundaries, and how they marginalize, on psychology to understand the role of cognitive dissonance and deception and how they can determine one’s migratory path, on family science to examine resilience and its relationship to ambiguity and loss, on history to understand current systems of racial and national discrimination and injustice.
While her formal data collection for this ethnographic project occurred over a ten-month period beginning in August 2015, the project was informed by many years of working in Dubai. One of the greatest strengths of this research is the diversity of its sample which includes forty-four low-wage migrant workers earning at the lowest wage bracket of Dh1500 (US$408) or less per month. Further, studies on low-wage migrant workers in the UAE have tended to focus on specific national groups or regions, such as Ethiopians or South Asians. In contrast, this study includes forty-four migrant workers from eleven countries—five in Sub-Saharan Africa, five in South Asia, and the Philippines—with no more than seven from any one country and working in fifteen different occupations. The diverse range of nationalities provided the opportunity to theorize about the role of nationality, ethnicity, and race, and how these intersect with other dimension of identity and determine the very diverse and unequal outcomes among migrants from the Global South.
Reber’s research interests include international migration, guestworkers, refugees, community research, social justice and equity, human rights, women and resilience, domestic workers, mental health and well-being, as well as acts of exclusion, disempowerment, marginalization, and discrimination. She has taught in South Korea, Turkey, the UAE, and the US, and has presented in these countries as well as in Pakistan, Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain.
Reber will be participating in a panel discussion on the ethnographies of global health at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in November 2018. Her paper examines the impact of marginalizing spaces on emotional well-being.
She is currently living in Dubai, UAE and will be relocating to Dallas, Texas in December 2018.
Areas of Expertise/Keywords:
Martyrdom, Social Resistance Movements, Solidarity, Ethnography, Tibet, Refugees, Community studies, Witnessing, Affect Theory
The Aftermaths of Ongoing Martyrdom: Tibetan Refugees and their Self-Immolators
Ethnography built upon 11 months of field research in Dharamsala, India, that examines how Tibetans refugees make sense of, address, cope with, and debate the 162 acts of self-immolation that have taken place in Tibet and India. Through 150 hours of interview with freedom activists, survivors of self-immolation, exile administration officials, former political prisoners, and refugees representing the general public, this study examines the critical resistance movement and its affect on the exile community. This dissertation argues that self-immolation is a relational act, a spectacle that creates and ushers forth witnesses. Through analyzing the obligations of witnessing and the barriers of witnessing evident in the exile community, and examining the expectation of solidarity, this dissertation offers a re-formalization of current theories of solidarity.