Yemen Mobility: Utilizing a Longue Durée and Oral History Approach to Understand Yemeni-American Migration
Metadata[+] Show full item record
Social historians tend to study Yemen migration through the lens of western capitalism. In so doing, they focus on modern events that shaped the movement of Yemenis out of south Arabia and dismiss the elements of mobility that have defined Yemen for millennia. This work aims to piece together the très longue durée of Yemen history and detail two structural aspects: mobility/stasis and cultural formation, in order to better understand how Yemenis constructed their society at home and abroad. Using over ten hours of interviews conducted in the summer of 2012, I utilize the language of five Yemeni-Americans to highlight their role as migrants and how they perceive the Yemeni community in Dearborn/Detroit, Michigan. I assert that as the Yemeni-American community grew to include women and children, and thus represented a more complete diaspora, Yemenis more assertively reproduced their traditional culture in the United States. I argue that the Yemeni-American tendency to remain insular, many of their cultural constructions, and their tradition of mobility, as well as their attachment to home, are not modern entities, but have roots in antiquity.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Ancient trails, secluded villages and a littoral identity -- Echoes of the Imam -- From Deauan to living room -- Conclusion + 5 oral files of interviews with Yemeni-Americans