China Sajadian

Eveillard Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology


Contact & Office Hours

Fall 2022
Thursday, 1:15–2:15pm, 
and by appointment 



Ph.D., City University of New York Graduate Center

M.A., Columbia University

A.B., Smith College


Bridging migration studies, agrarian studies, and economic anthropology, China Sajadian’s research broadly examines links between histories of displacement and contemporary conflicts over land and labor in the Middle East. Her current book project is an ethnography of Syrian refugees in Lebanon who were previously seasonal farmworkers and traces the forms of debt they incurred before and throughout the war in Syria. By bringing an agrarian perspective to their conditions of displacement, Sajadian’s work challenges the simple yet pervasive idea that refugees’ predicaments are entirely distinct from those of labor migrants. In doing so, her research analyzes how displacement is not only a question of humanitarian governance but also a deeply agrarian question rooted in the political economy of global food systems. Before coming to Smith, Sajadian was a Dissertation Completion Fellow at the Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies, the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, and the Committee on Globalization and Social Change, and she also taught for three years at Brooklyn College. She looks forward to teaching courses about migration and displacement, agrarian and food studies, economic anthropology, labor, gender, and the Middle East.


Book manuscript

Debts of Displacement: Syrian Refugee Farmworkers at the Lebanese-Syrian Border

Articles under review

“The Drowned and the Displaced: Afterlives of Agrarian Developmentalism Across the Lebanese-Syrian Border.”

“Debts of Displacement: The Reproductive Binds of Debt in a Syrian Refugee Farmworker Camp.”

“Rethinking Climate Refugees and the Syrian Refugee Crisis: An Agrarian Perspective of Displacement.”

Other publications

2020. “Critical Agrarian Studies.” In International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Second Edition), ed. Audrey Kobayashi, 17–23. Oxford: Elsevier. doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-102295-5.10456-1.

2020. “The Agrarian Question in Lebanon Today: A View from the Bekaa Valley” Jadaliyya, August 19.