Abdulla Majeed is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Based on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork among Iraqi exiles, migrant activists, cultural centres, and charitable organizations in Jordan’s capital Amman, his doctoral project examines how exiled Iraqis cultivate complimentary citizen-like relations despite their exclusion from the future would-be citizenry and the perceived absence of a benevolent state to anchor their rights. In light of the legal uncertainty characterizing the everyday life of Iraqi exiles in Jordan as “guests” of the monarchy—an ambiguous non-binding status evoking an anticolonial past rooted in pan-Arabism and Arab traditions of hospitality—Abdulla’s work is interested in examining how exiled Iraqis construct and work towards future aspirations for benevolent governance and ethical citizenship as their lives comes to be entangled with multiple statecrafts; Iraqi, Jordanian, and imperial. These political futures could be articulated in ways that coexist along and borrow from traditional forms of governance, or that may transcend it seeking alternative, and at times injurious, ways of occupying the world. Such anxieties come to be particularly salient once read against the backdrop of an authoritarian Ba’athist past that continues to haunt the present and an omnipresent imperial violence that engendered a post-occupation ‘democratic’ condition characterized by political corruption and paramilitary violence.
To that end, Abdulla’s work develops an ethnographic approach to imperiality by paying close attention to the duality of absence and excess entangling Iraqi everyday life and the management and effecting of multiple scales of this duality by co-constitutive statecraft projects. Abdulla’s work has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation (2020), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship (2021-2023), and other prestigious awards.