Susanna FiorattaOct 19, 2021
An Ethnography of Migration, Islam, and Politics
Oxford University Press 2020
Countering the traditional narrative of "migration as crisis," Global Nomads tells the story of a group of people for whom migration is not a symptom of a disordered world, but rather an ordinary practice full of social and personal meaning. Decentering migration from North America and Europe, this ethnography explores how ethnic Fulbe people in the West African Republic of Guinea migrate abroad to seek their fortunes and fulfill their responsibilities--and in the process, securing a place at home.
Based on twenty-three months of ethnographic research, Global Nomads: An Ethnography of Migration, Islam, and Politics in West Africa (Oxford UP, 2020) investigates how mobility abroad shapes belonging at home and shows that political and economic motivations to migrate are important in Guinea, as elsewhere--but they are only part of the story. Family and community expectations, cultural ideals of work, notions of gender, and religious piety all come into play when people dream of going abroad and when they contemplate coming home again. Ultimately, Global Nomads shows how understandings of the past and its connections to the present--of what being a respectable person entails, of individual responsibilities to a larger community--all shape how people live in contexts of insecurity.
Dr. Sara Katz is a postdoctoral associate in the history department at Duke University.