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Race, Gender, and Work: Syrian-Lebanese Women in Turn-of-the Century Sao Paulo
Recently the study of the Syrian-Lebanese communities in Latin America has attracted much attention from scholars across a variety of disciplines (Klich & Lesser, 1998; Zobel, 2006; Akmir, 2009). Although the impact of this emerging body of scholarship has greatly contributed to our understanding of non-European immigrants to Latin America and their contribution to their adoptive countries, less attention has been paid to the roles and experiences of Syrian-Lebanese women or women of Syrian-Lebanese descent. Even less attention has been paid to their transnational experiences.
Syrian-Lebanese women are often referenced only in passing and are typically
depicted as homebound, or as women of leisure engaged in charitable work. Many of these trivial and anecdotal glimpses into the lives of Syrian-Lebanese women in Brazil reflect and reinforce the constant reproduction of gender and color hierarchies in
Brazilian nationalist ideology. There has been even less focus on questions pertaining to the privileged white status the Syrian-Lebanese immigrants enjoyed upon their arrival in Brazil.
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