The Shi'i Lebanese diaspora in West Africa has played a key role in the construction of Lebanese Shi'i sectarian identity in the Twentieth century. This article provides some perspective and insight on the relationships among race, sect and colonialism in Africa and the Middle East through the lens of transnational Shi'i networks. Travel narratives written by Lebanese Shi'is who visited French West Africa during the 1930s indicate certain cultural hierarchies and racial modes of thinking. Moreover, some Lebanese internalised elements of colonial discourse while others, in a kind of inversion, re-deployed them towards black Africans. These Lebanese travel diaries, therefore, constitute a unique primary source for the history of the Lebanese Shi'i mahjar (diaspora) in West Africa and its relationship with the watan (homeland); they also illuminate cultural hierarchies embedded in Shi'i consciousness. Such stereotypes about Africa have persisted well into the late 20th- and early 21st-century in Lebanon.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism|
|State||Published - Mar 2007|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science