Conditional Belonging: The Racialization of Iranians in the Wake of Anti-Muslim Politics
Published by: NYU Press
Imprint: New York University Press
Sales Date: 2023-04-18
Published: April 2023
Imprint: New York University Press
Page Count: 224 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
224 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.80 in
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A compelling account of how race and politics have affected Iranian immigrants in the United States
Iranians have a complex and contradictory relationship with race. Though categorized as ?white? by the US census, many Iranian Americans remain marginalized, and experience racial and political stigma daily. On the other hand, Iranian Germans who have been in Germany for decades, and are typically regarded as 'good foreigners,' continue to experience marginality and discrimination illustrating the limitations of integration and citizenship. Conditional Belonging explores these apparent contradictions through a comparative analysis of the Iranian diasporic experience in the United States and Germany, focusing particularly on the different processes of racialization of the immigrants.
Drawing from eighty-eight interviews with first- and second-generation Iranians living in California and Hamburg, Sahar Sadeghi illuminates how international events, global political policy, and national social climates influence the extent to which Iranians define themselves as members of their adopted nations. All these factors lead to radically different experiences of belonging, or more specifically ?conditional belonging,? for Iranians living in Western nations?while those in America might have situational access to whiteness, this is not always available to Iranians in Germany. The combination of these experiences results in perceptions, narrations, and experiences of what the author calls ?being but not belonging.? Conditional Belonging is an important and timely book that broadens our understanding of how unpredictable and fluid a sense of belonging to a country can be.
"Conditional Belonging is a serious, timely contribution to scholarship on the racialization and migration experiences of Iranians. By providing the first in-depth, comparative analysis of Iranian immigrants in the United States and Germany, Sadeghi deepens our understanding of national and cultural membership in both societies. Clear, readable, and effective, this is an important book that answers the call for a more global and comparative Iranian diaspora studies." Neda Maghbouleh, author of The Limits of Whiteness
"Conditional Belonging is a brilliant, piercing ethnographic portrayal of how first-and second-generation Iranians in the United States and Germany navigate the complexities of racialization while struggling ? but never quite succeeding ? to gain full recognition and social belonging. Gripping first-hand accounts reveal how race-based nationalism continues to inform the social order in liberal, democratic states and amplify the sidelining of so-called foreign others. This timely book is a must-read for understanding both the visible and hidden racial projects that undermine collective commitments to unconditional inclusion and equality." Manata Hashemi, author of Coming of Age in Iran
"Conditional Belonging demonstrates the ways in which empire (US) and racial nationalism (Germany) operate to situate Iranians as perpetual foreigners, including among the linguistically and culturally adept second generation and the most socially integrated of immigrants. There are differences though between these two places, in both the mainstream discourses deployed that produce othering and in Iranian diaspora practices of coping and resistance. Sadeghi?s fine attention to empirical detail shows us how these variations play out and how the rise of white nationalism in both countries has produced new yet divergent strategies of resistance." Louise Cainkar, author of Homeland Insecurity