Covid-19 Pandemic and the Spectral Presence of Migrant Workers and Refugees

Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 4:00pm - 5:30pm, Online Seminar
The bordering processes unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the existing fault lines of our present-day societies and deepened the current fissures and dilemmas of global capitalist order, state sovereignty, and governance structures. On the basis of Calcutta Research Group’s book, Borders of an Epidemic: Covid-19 and Migrant Workers, edited by Prof. Ranabir Samaddar, which highlights the ethical and political implications of the pandemic, this round table addresses the changing landscape of visibility and invisibility of migrant workers, refugees as well as of national borders, which opens further questions about inequalities, public health, and politics of care.

Alex Aleinikoff is University Professor at The New School, New York, where he has served as Director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility since January 2017. In 2008 he was  co-chair of the Immigration Task Force for President Barack Obama’s transition team and from 2010 to 2015 served as United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees. In 2014 was inducted into the American Academy of Arts of Sciences. A leading scholar in immigration and refugee law, Alex Aleinikoff has published numerous books and articles in the areas of immigration law policy, refugee law, citizenship, race, statutory interpretation, and constitutional law. He is a co-author of leading legal casebooks on immigration law and forced migration. Currently he is working on The Arc of Protection: Reforming the International Refugee Regime.

Ranabir Samaddar, recurrent Visiting Fellow at the IWM, is the Director of the Calcutta Research Group, and belongs to the school of critical thinking. He has pioneered along with others peace studies programmes in South Asia. He has worked extensively on issues of justice and rights in the context of conflicts in South Asia. His particular researches have been on migration and refugee studies, the theory and practices of dialogue, nationalism and post-colonial statehood in South Asia, and new regimes of technological restructuring and labour control. Among his influential works are The Marginal Nation: Transborder Migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal (1999) and A Biography of the Indian Nation (2002). His recent works are Karl Marx and the Postcolonial Age (2018) and the The Postcolonial Age of Migration (2020).

Roger Zetter is Emeritus Professor of Refugee Studies,  former Director of the  Refugee Studies Centre at University of Oxford and the founding Editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies, published by Oxford University Press. His research, publications, teaching and consultancy on forced displacement, refugee and humanitarian affairs includes all stages of the ‘refugee cycle’, focusing on institutional and policy dimensions of the refugee and humanitarian ‘regime’, and the impacts on forcibly displaced people. His seminal 1991 paper on ‘Labelling Refugees: Forming and Transforming a Bureaucratic Identity’ in the Journal of Refugee Studies is one of the most widely cited papers in refugee literature.

Ayse Çağlar (Chair) is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna and Permanent Fellow at the IWM, where she is directing the project Migrants in City-Making and Urban Politics and the Europe-Asia Research Platform on Forced Migration. She has published widely on the processes of migration, urban restructuring, dispossession, and displacement, as well as the entanglements between states and transnationalization processes. Among other publications Ayse Çağlar has edited Urbaner Protest. Revolte in der neoliberalen Stadt (Passagen Verlag, 2019), co-authored Migrants and City-Making: Dispossession, Displacement, and Urban Regeneration (Duke University Press, 2018) and co-edited Locating Migration: Rescaling Cities and Migrants (Cornell University Press, 2010).

This public round table is part of the closed workshop Europe-Asia Research Platform: Forced Migration. Initiating a new research focus at the IWM, which takes place at the IWM on June 25  and 26.

Organized by IWM, in collaboration with Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group

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