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CMENAS Fall 2023 Colloquium Series Lecture: The Post-spectacle City: The Politics of Space, Nation, and Multispecies Belonging After Dubai Expo 2020 and the 2022 Qatar World Cup

Neha Vora, professor of anthropology, American University of Sharjah
Monday, November 20, 2023
12:00-2:00 PM
555 Weiser Hall Map
This paper takes as its starting point Gulf cities as multispecies places where human-nonhuman encounters and forms of kinship inform larger questions of urban belonging, racialization, and economic precarity. It is an exploratory paper based on initial observations from multispecies ethnographic research I have recently started conducting in the UAE and within online animal welfare groups for the Gulf region. I use the cases of Dubai Expo 2020 and Qatar’s 2022 World Cup to consider how large-scale urban development and shifting state policies have impacted both human and nonhuman residents, as well as the relationships between them. These spectacular events and the planning around them have particularly affected already-precarious populations like low-wage immigrants from Asia and Africa and stray cats and dogs. The entangled precarities between species are made visible through new urban geographies, state rhetorics of multiculturalism and tolerance, the effects of COVID-19, and policies aimed at producing sustainable cities and environmentally conscious citizens.

Neha Vora is a Professor of Anthropology in the Department of International Studies at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Her research and teaching interests include diasporas and migration, citizenship, globalized higher education, gender, liberalism, political economy, and human-nonhuman encounters, primarily in the Arabian Peninsula region. She is the author of Impossible Citizens: Dubai’s Indian Diaspora (Duke University Press, 2013) and Teach for Arabia: American Universities, Liberalism, and Transnational Qatar (Stanford University Press, 2018). She has also published a co-authored book with Ahmed Kanna and Amelie Le Renard, Beyond Exception: New Interpretations of the Arabian Peninsula (Cornell University Press, 2020). Her current research project is examining animal care work in the Gulf and the shifting precarities for both immigrants and the unhoused animals they care for within post-Covid economic conditions and emergent state sustainability discourses and policies.

This event is part of the CMENAS Fall Colloquium 2023: “The MENA world after a MENA World Cup” 555 Weiser Hall, 500 Church Street, Ann Arbor.

Colloquium questions:

This series is funded in part by the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies (CMENAS) U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) grant.

To register, go to
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: African Studies, Area Studies, center for middle eastern and north african studies, Cmenas Colloquium Series, Discussion, Middle East Studies, Workshop
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, International Institute