A book exploring the immigration policy and media coverage in the United States has earned a University of Aberdeen academic a top award from a leading media and cultural studies body.
Dr Nour Halabi, Interdisciplinary Fellow in Social Inclusion and Cultural Diversity, based in the School of Social Sciences, has been named winner of the 2023 Outstanding Achievement – Monograph of the Year - Award from the Media, Communication and Cultural Students Association (MeCCSA) for her book ‘Radical Hospitality: American Policy, Media and Immigration’.
Combining a systematic empirical analysis with first-hand experience of navigating the immigration system, Dr Halabi reimagines the ethical relationship of host societies towards newcomers by applying the concept of hospitality to two specific realms that impact the lives of immigrants in the United States: policy and media.
The book calls attention to the moral responsibility of the host in welcoming the stranger. It sets the stage for the analysis with a historical background of the first host-guest diads of American hospitality, arguing that the early history of American hospitality was marked by the degeneration of the host-guest relationship into one of host-hostage, normalising a racial discrimination that continues to plague immigration hospitality to this day.
Nominated by her peers, the judges described Dr Halabi’s work as “a significant and scholarly book which provides some important insights through its use of the hospitality concept and its historical orientation.”
“The contradiction between the legal protection offered to immigrants to the USA through the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution on the one hand, and the anti-immigration sentiment which inflects public discourse and ever-more restrictive immigration policies on the other, is an important topic for me having negotiated it first hand with my family,” said Dr Halabi.
“I am honoured to have received this award and it is extremely rewarding that my work has recognised both by my peers and by MeCCSA.”
Eleonora Belfiore, Professor in Cultural Policy and Interdisciplinary Director for Social Inclusion and Cultural Diversity, said: "I am immensely proud of Nour’s achievement, which is a testament not only to her talent, dedication and to the excellence of her scholarship, but also a powerful demonstration of the importance of interdisciplinary research to our society.
"We need rich, multiple and robust perspectives from across disciplines to make sense of complex social issues, and to fully grasp the way in which everyday concepts, such as ‘hospitality’, play out in the context of policymaking, media representation and the negotiation of cultural diversity in our contemporary society."