Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Awards

Alex Boodrookas

New York University, Departments of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

2021 Honorable Mention (Social Sciences)

Alex Boodrookas

Alex Boodrookas

The Making of a Migrant Working Class: Contesting Citizenship in the Persian Gulf, 1925-1975

The committee selected Alex Boodrookas’ dissertation for Honorable Mention for its meticulous historical excavation, well-crafted and well-supported argument, and theoretical sophistication. Boodrookas’ work complicates existing accounts of the top-down formation of citizenship in the Gulf, arguing that emerged through various social, political, and economics contestations in the mid-twentieth century. Boodrookas’ carefully demonstrates how shifting patterns of labor migration and activism in the Gulf resulted both in the nationalizaiton of oil in Kuwait but also the formation of exclusionary modes of citizenship.This work represents an invaluable addition not just to Gulf studies, but also to the literature on nationality and citizenship, labor migration and activism, and post-colonial state formation.

The dissertation was completed at New York University in the Departments of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies under the supervision of Arang Keshavarzian and Zachary Lockman.

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