Sumayya Kassamali

Writer & Anthropologist, Canada

Sumayya Kassamali is a writer and anthropologist whose work examines the transformation of gender, race, religion, and language in the context of transnational migration. She is Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto. Her current research focuses on African and Asian domestic labor in Beirut, Lebanon, and examines the transformation of social relations that accompanied the growth of temporary migrant labor in the Middle East. Sumayya also has a longstanding interest in Third Worldinternationalism, Indo-Persian aesthetics, and the Muslim diasporas of South Asia, East Africa, and North America.

Black Beirut : Life in a global undercommons

Black Beirut is an ethnography of migrant labor in Beirut, Lebanon, focusing on the experiences of African and Asian women who travel to Lebanon as domestic workers, only to flee conditions of abuse and enter the undocumented underground of the city. It situates these experiences at the intersection of capitalism, gender, and racialization in the contemporary Middle East. At the same time, it opens new possibilities for understanding the afterlife of temporary migration by examining practices of intimacy, forms of urban belonging outside citizenship, and new relationships to language.