This introductory chapter lays out the groundwork for this volume's primary argument regarding the role that states and empires play in structuring the Yemeni diasporic community. Diasporic groups, which are generated outside the direct involvement of empires, have not been looked at in terms of the structuring power of empire and state. Hence the chapter jumpstarts this discussion by reviewing the prevailing literature concerning Yemenis or Hadrami—the people who are the focus of this book—and how they are considered in relation to state power. And given the book's particular focus on Yemeni interactions with states and empires in the Horn of Africa, this chapter also presents a brief historical overview of the involvement of empires and the formation of the state in the area.
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