Argentina lies at the heart of the American hemisphere’s history of global migration booms of the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century: by 1910, one of every three Argentine residents was an immigrant—twice the demographic impact that the United States experienced in the boom period. In this context, some one hundred and forty thousand Ottoman Syrians came to Argentina prior to World War I, and over the following decades Middle Eastern communities, institutions, and businesses dotted the landscape of Argentina from bustling Buenos Aires to Argentina’s most remote frontiers.
Lily Pearl Balloffet’s Argentina in the Global Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2020) connects modern Latin American and Middle Eastern history through their shared links to global migration systems. By following the mobile lives of individuals with roots in the Levantine Middle East, Lily Pearl Balloffet sheds light on the intersections of ethnicity, migrant–homeland ties, and international relations. Ranging from the nineteenth century boom in transoceanic migration to twenty-first century dynamics of large-scale migration and displacement in the Arabic-speaking Eastern Mediterranean, this book considers key themes such as cultural production, philanthropy, anti-imperial activism, and financial networks over the course of several generations of this diasporic community. Balloffet’s study situates this transregional history of Argentina and the Middle East within a larger story of South-South alliances, solidarities, and exchanges.
Reuben Silverman is a PhD candidate at University of California, San Diego.
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