• Ladies Aid as Labor History: Working-Class Formation in the Mahjar

    Author(s):
    Stacy Fahrenthold (see profile)
    Date:
    2021
    Group(s):
    Global & Transnational Studies, History
    Subject(s):
    Migration studies, Immigration history, Working-class studies, Labor history, Arab American literature, Syria, Women's history, Ethnic studies
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    lebanon, Palestine
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/1jd4-dy48
    Abstract:
    In the Arabic-speaking mahjar (diaspora), the plight of the working poor was the focus of women’s philanthropy. Scholarship on welfare relief in the interwar Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian diaspora currently situates it within a gendered politics of benevolence. This article reconsiders that frame and argues for a class-centered reassessment of “ladies aid” politics exploring the intersections of women’s relief with proletarian mutual aid strategies. Founded in 1917, the Syrian Ladies Aid Society (SLAS) of Boston provided food, shelter, education, and employment to Syrian workers. SLAS volunteers understood their efforts as mitigating the precarities imposed on Syrian workers by the global capitalist labor system. Theirs was both a women’s organization and a proletarian movement led by Syrian women. Drawing from SLAS records and the Syrian American press, the article centers Syrian American women within processes of working-class formation and concludes that labor history of the interwar mahjar requires focus on spaces of social reproduction beyond the factory floor.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 weeks ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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