Dissertation Title: Waiting on Embers: Duration, Dispossession, and Everyday Life among Iraqi Migrants in Jordan
Broadly speaking, Zachary's scholarship puts materialist and phenomenological approaches in anthropology into dialogue with situated perspectives on the lived experience of imperialism. His dissertation brings an ethnographic attunement to complex questions of transnational capitalism through careful study of displaced peoples' practical techniques for navigating class relations, focusing on the case of Iraqi migrants living and working in Amman, Jordan. Zachary is now refining this portrait of migrant life in Amman through a book project that reassesses the rise of America's post-Cold War hegemony (or "globalization") from an Iraqi standpoint, revealing a regime of immobility, confessionalism, and immiseration that emerged in tandem with the spread of mobility, hybridity, and prosperity in other parts of the world.
Beyond their potential for illuminating the workings of empire, the everyday practices highlighted in the dissertation also bring new forms of sociality into being against the backdrop of wartime loss. This more vitalizing potential is explored through an in-progress journal article about the board and card games that migrants play to sustain meaningful relationships in a city of strangers. The article's conceptual orientation to the potentials of play incorporates elements of Zachary's popular lecture course on the topic, which offers students a hands-on introduction to digital and in-person ethnography through the anthropology of games.
Zachary has also taught courses on social and political theory at the University of Chicago and on urban sociology at the Columbia University Global Center - Amman. His writing has appeared in POMEPS Studies and Jadaliyya, and his first full length peer-reviewed article, which draws on a previous ethnographic study of an Iraqi community in the United States, will be published in this summer's issue of the Anthropology of Work Review.