An Evening with Sahar Sadeghi

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024 at 6:30 PM

Please join us for An Evening with Sahar Sadeghi as she discusses her book, Conditional Belonging: The Racialization of Iranians in the Wake of Anti-Muslim Politics.

About the Book

Iranians have a complex and contradictory relationship with race. Though categorized as “white” by the US census, many Iranian Americans remain marginalized, and experience racial and political stigma daily. On the other hand, Iranian Germans who have been in Germany for decades, and are typically regarded as ‘good foreigners,’ continue to experience marginality and discrimination illustrating the limitations of integration and citizenship. Conditional Belonging explores these apparent contradictions through a comparative analysis of the Iranian diasporic experience in the United States and Germany, focusing particularly on the different processes of racialization of the immigrants.

Drawing from eighty-eight interviews with first- and second- generation Iranians living in California and Hamburg, Sahar Sadeghi illuminates how international events, global political policy, and national social climates influence the extent to which Iranians define themselves as members of their adopted nations. All these factors lead to radically different experiences of belonging, or more specifically “conditional belonging,” for Iranians living in Western nations—while those in America might have situational access to whiteness, this is not always available to Iranians in Germany. The combination of these experiences results in perceptions, narrations, and experiences of what the author calls “being but not belonging.” Conditional Belonging is an important and timely book that broadens our understanding of how unpredictable and fluid a sense of belonging to a country can be.

About the Author

Sahar Sadeghi is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Muhlenberg College. Her research is organized around race, migration, and the Iranian diaspora. Her recently published book Conditional Belonging details Iranians’ complex and contradictory relationship with race and belonging through a comparative analysis of the Iranian experience in the United States and Germany, focusing particularly on the immigrants’ different processes of racialization.