1 The naming of the region is contested. Some call it the Persian Gulf, others the
Arabian Gulf or Arabian Sea. I avoid taking sides in this debate, which is not
relevant to my project, by using the term ‘‘Gulf’’ whenever possible. Where I
specifically refer to countries on the Arabian Peninsula, however, I sometimes
refer to the ‘‘Arab side of the Gulf’’ or to the ‘‘Gulf Arab States.’’
2 The UAE is a loose federation of seven states (emirates), the largest of which
are Abu Dhabi (the capital) and Dubai. Each emirate has an independent gov-
erning structure that is based in patrilineal monarchial rule, but there is also a
nationalized legal system that oversees immigration, foreign policy, and other
matters. Each emirate is proportionally represented within the UAE govern-
ment based on its citizen population. Although I refer primarily to belonging
within Dubai as a city-state, Dubai cannot be completely divorced from the
UAE in any analysis, especially analyses of migration, because migration laws
and citizenship—and the governance over them—are defined at the national
3 Some people use ‘‘Dubai’’ to refer to the UAE more generally, so if someone were
living in Abu Dhabi, their relatives might say they lived in Dubai. This is also true
for other, less-well-known Gulf Arab States. I still hear, for example, people from
India or other parts of the diaspora refer to Qatar or Oman as ‘‘Dubai.’’
4 See for example Al-Rasheed, Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf; Al-
Sayegh, ‘‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society’’; Allen, ‘‘The Indian Mer-
chant Community of Masqat’’; Bose, A Hundred Horizons; Das Gupta, India and
the Indian Ocean World; Dresch and Piscatori, Monarchies and Nations; Gam-
burd, The Kitchen Spoon’s Handle; Gardner, City of Strangers; Johnson, ‘‘Di-
asporic Dreams’’; Kanna, Dubai, the City as Corporation; Khalaf, ‘‘Globalization
and Heritage in the Gulf’’; Leonard, ‘‘South Asian Women in the Gulf’’ and
‘‘South Asian Workers in the Gulf’’; Lombard and Aubin, Asian Merchants and
Businessmen in the Indian Ocean and the China Sea; Markovits, The Global World
of Indian Merchants; Nagy, ‘‘‘This Time I Think I’ll Try a Filipina’’’ and ‘‘Making
Room for Migrants, Making Sense of Di√erence’’; Onley, The Arabian Frontier
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