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Ta‘al Bachir (Come Tomorrow): The Politics of Waiting for Citizenship in the Gulf

Noora Lori, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University

Tue, 2/8 · 12:00 pm1:00 pm EST · 102 Jones Hall

Institute for Transregional Studies (TRI)

When it comes to extending citizenship to some groups, why might ruling political elites say neither “yes” nor “no,” but “wait”?

The dominant theories of citizenship tend to recognize clear distinctions between citizens and aliens; either one has citizenship or one does not. In this presentation, Dr. Lori will discuss her recent book that explains how and why some minorities are neither fully included nor simply expelled by a state. Instead, they can be suspended in limbo – residing in a territory for extended periods without ever accruing any citizenship rights. This in-depth case study of the United Arab Emirates uses new archival sources and extensive interviews to show how temporary residency can be transformed into a permanent legal status, through visa renewals and the postponement of naturalization cases. In the UAE, temporary residency was also codified into a formal citizenship status through the outsourcing of passports from the Union of Comoros, allowing elites to effectively reclassify minorities into foreign residents.

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