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A Century of TransnationalismImmigrants and Their Homeland Connections$
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Nancy L Green and Roger Waldinger

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040443

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040443.001.0001

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Transnationalism, States’ Influence, and the Political Mobilizations of the Arab Minority in Canada

Transnationalism, States’ Influence, and the Political Mobilizations of the Arab Minority in Canada

(p.161) Chapter 6 Transnationalism, States’ Influence, and the Political Mobilizations of the Arab Minority in Canada
A Century of Transnationalism

Houda Asal

, Sarah Abel
University of Illinois Press

This chapter seeks to identify the sources of Arab political mobilizations in Canada from the 1920s through the late 1970s, with particular attention to the influence exercised by states and political controversies emanating from the region of origin. The history of political mobilization of the Arab minority in Canada shows that members of this group primarily organized to reject the racial category in which they were included in the early twentieth century. Populations from the Machrek were considered “Asian,” which greatly restricted their admission into Canada. The strategies they then developed in order to change both the categorization that had a direct impact on their mobility and on their image in society depended not only on their ability to mobilize, but also on how they reclaimed these “racial” and “identity” categories. After 1945, identity continued to mix with politics as organizations of the Arab minority rallied in favor of a transnational “cause.” The Palestinian cause became theirs because they themselves identified as Arabs. In addition to being an interesting case of loyalty that does not directly correspond to national state borders, this form of political mobilization questions the scale of transnational analyses, between the local and the global, when it comes to thinking about the roles of states in history, be it the impact of countries of origin on their diasporas, or that of countries of residence on their minorities.

Keywords:   Canada, Arabs, Arab migrants, transnationalism, political mobilization, racial categorization

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