Keywords in Refugee and Migration Studies - Day 1

Europe-Asia Research Platform on Forced Migration
Conferences and Workshops

Keywords in refugee and migration studies are words in motion. They show in many cases the colonial and postcolonial imprint on them. It is necessary to not only review their histories but also the multiple deployments of terms for co-option. The question is: How do some words initially appearing minor to our general understanding of society and our existence become key to understanding the marginalities? Else, belonging to mainstream language, these words would have remained banal, vacuous, telling nothing of the hidden from our gaze the world of domination, contests, and struggles. These words quiz our theories of political existence. They also help us understand attempts by governments across the world to normalize “migration” by flexible control and management strategies. Hence, three points:

  1. Precisely because these words are minor to general understanding, they require patient digging into their histories, erasures, and paradoxically their status as “live words”;
  2. Keywords in refugee and migration studies are contested in every sense of the meaning; hence they call for plurality of approach, collection, and configuration;
  3. Finally, turning “minor” meanings into interrogative gestures towards larger significations requires collective effort. This double nature of the minor words speaks of the duality of keywords

Thursday, 12 October

12:00 Opening Remarks
Ayşe Çağlar, IWM
Ranabir Samaddar, CRG

12:30 – 13:45 Spaces of Migration
Martina Tazzioli, University of Bologna: Traces
Ishita Dey, South Asian University, Urban Futures Fellow, University of Vienna: Passage

13:45 – 14:00 Break

14:00 – 15:30 Spaces of Solidarity, Spaces of Rupture
Federico Rahola, University of Genova: Solidarity at large
Shahram Khosravi, Stockholm University: Disruptiveness