Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
This examination of how black African migrants live and work within Arab-Bédouin Saharan cities or “Saharatowns,” amid anti-black violence and adverse working conditions is a call for thorough ethnographic study of life in such towns. I attempt to call attention to the lives of these trans-Saharan migrants, many of whom are stuck in these towns for weeks, months and sometimes years. Central to this study is the concept of compression, the force from the Saharatowns that catches migrants hoping to pass through them only to keep migrants from leaving and pursuing their dreams of another life elsewhere. I describe how black African migrants work and make life in Saharatowns, with a particular focus on how compression across space and time affects Black peoples and allows the socio-juridical institutions of Arab-Bédouin Saharatowns to perpetuate anti-blackness.