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FEL-272668-21

Stacy D. Fahrenthold
University of California, Davis (Davis, CA 95618-6153)
Syrian Textile Workers in the Arab Atlantic, 1890-1934

Research and writing leading to a book on the development of working-class identity among Syrian textile workers, focused on cities including Lowell, Lawrence, and Boston, Massachusetts and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This project is a global history of the Syrian working class, from the advent of mass migration to the Great Depression. Examining a generation of textile workers from the Arab Middle East, I argue that the shared experiences of transit/passage, proletarianization, systemic precarity in immigrant neighborhoods, and labor activism generated a uniquely Syrian working-class milieu. The work is situated in three locales, joined by the commercial circuits of the textile industry: Ottoman Syria (Homs, Hama, Mount Lebanon); New England (Lowell, Lawrence, Boston); and Brazil (Sao Paulo). The emergence of Syrian communities in these towns was complemented by the liquidity of labor among them, and Syrian workers (men and women) circulated the Americas in pursuit of higher wages. Whether in Brazil or Boston, Syria or Sao Paulo, Arab textile workers communicated across oceans to strike better working conditions for themselves, developing a cosmopolitan outlook that was authentically working-class.

Project fields:
Immigration History; Latin American History; Near and Middle Eastern History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022