“Here, There, and Elsewhere”: New Book by Professor Tahseen Shams

Professor Tahseen Shams’ newly published book, “Here, There, and Elsewhere: The Making of Immigrant Identities in a Globalized World,” looks at how immigrants’ lives are both influenced and influence the societies of their origin, their destination, as well as societies elsewhere in an interconnected global community.  The book draws from the South Asian Muslim American experience, tracing how the homeland, hostland, and elsewhere combine to affect the ways in which immigrants and their descendants understand themselves and are understood by others.

Professor Tahseen Shams is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto.  Her research interests are in the areas of international migration, globalization, race/ethnicity, nationalism, and religion.

The book’s publisher, Stanford University Press, includes the following synopsis on their website:

Challenging the commonly held perception that immigrants’ lives are shaped exclusively by their sending and receiving countries, Here, There, and Elsewhere breaks new ground by showing how immigrants are vectors of globalization who both produce and experience the interconnectedness of societies—not only the societies of origin and destination, but also, the societies in places beyond. Tahseen Shams posits a new concept for thinking about these places that are neither the immigrants’ homeland nor hostland—the “elsewhere.” Drawing on rich ethnographic data, interviews, and analysis of the social media activities of South Asian Muslim Americans, Shams uncovers how different dimensions of the immigrants’ ethnic and religious identities connect them to different elsewheres in places as far-ranging as the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. Yet not all places in the world are elsewheres. How a faraway foreign land becomes salient to the immigrant’s sense of self depends on an interplay of global hierarchies, homeland politics, and hostland dynamics. Referencing today’s 24-hour news cycle and the ways that social media connects diverse places and peoples at the touch of a screen, Shams traces how the homeland, hostland, and elsewhere combine to affect the ways in which immigrants and their descendants understand themselves and are understood by others.

Read more about the book and Professor Shams’ research on her website.