Migration - Gender - Politics

Lecture Series: Mobile People, Traveling Things-Perspectives on Migrations

14 October to 30 November 2016
Monday and Wednesday 14-16h (2.15-3.45 pm)
Room A1 0-005.

Wed, 14 October
Prof. Dr. Martin Butler, Prof. Dr. Karen Ellwanger, Dr. Lydia Potts 
Opening and Introduction

Mon, 26 October
Prof. Dr. Amit Prakash, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Dehli
Migration and Discursive Dissonance: Capital City of Delhi

Centrality of migrant populations in the political, economic and social life of Delhi notwithstanding, contemporary policy and the law are not geared towards addressing this issue from a citizen’s perspective. Instead, the legal and administrative premises of governing Delhi is geared towards a different objective of beautification imbued with middle-class bourgeois environmentalism, which invisibilises the urban poor and migrants. The lecture will deploy frames from discursive policy analysis to examine the place of migrants and the poor in law and policy in Delhi.

Wed, 28 October
Prof. Dr. Manish K. Jha, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Neoliberal City, Nativist Politics and Migrant Subject

Migrants expose the paradox of urbanisation through the fragmentation and segregation of city spaces. Labour migration from rural to urban areas is a persistent feature of developing countries like India. Mumbai like many big and thriving cities has been attracting a large number of migrants from all over the country. The lecture tries to locate the experiences of the migrant homeless people in the larger processes of a neo-liberal envisioning of Mumbai as the global city, the ever-growing informalisation of labour, and displacement and inadequate resettlement, resulting in restricted access to affordable housing, services, work spaces and social welfare. Subject to persistent violence, the homeless existence in the city is a case of minimalist citizenship, bereft of the right to the city. The analysis exposes how the homeless migrants perpetually suffer from the condition of suspended citizenship, lead their everyday domestic life under public gaze, face violence and also confront civil society’s growing assertion for rights over public spaces.
Their mere existence on the pavements and streets (as home) is challenged by the growing assertion for the ‘citizen’s right’ over different public spaces such as walkways, pavements and parks. The study proposes to explore questions such as how do the homeless migrants encounter violence and humiliation on an everyday basis? How do they experience the apathy and hostility of the better off classes? What is the nature of politics being played out in the name of ‘local’ versus ‘migrants’ and what kind of insecurity does it create?

Mon, 2 November
Dr. Lüder Tietz, Institute of Material Culture, UOL
Travelling Concepts of Identity: The Case of Two-Spirits (LGBTIQ in Indigenous North America)

The two-spirit movement developed from the self-help group Gay American Indians in San Francisco (founded 1975) to a bi-national network in the US and Canada addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender and intersex persons with indigenous roots. From the beginning their self-concept was influenced both by the fledging LGBTI movement and the ongoing Native revitalization - reviving knowledge about the former men-women and women-men in certain Native North American tribes recorded in ethnographic records. Based on ethnographic fieldwork (together with the organization Two-Spirited People of the First Nations in Toronto) and media discourse analysis, the presentation reconstructs this development. Taking in account Mieke Bal's focus on travelling concepts, the merging of different influences on the concept two-spirit is discussed. Questions of collaborative and decolonial methodologies are addressed.

Wed, 4 November
Dr. Lydia Potts and Saba Al Kuntar, Working Group Migration – Gender – Politics, UOL
Poems. Gendered voices of exile, diasporic transformations and emerging transculturality

In 2012, a very young poet made Danish literary history: his debut collection of poems sold 100,000 copies. Yahya Hassan is a very angry young man, who grew up in the Palestinian diaspora in a dysfunctional and dispossessed family. A troubled youth, he lived through petty crime and ambivalent experiences with the Danish welfare state. In his poems – written in Danish – he addresses multiple forms of violence. The lecture will introduce some of his poems and discuss if he can be considered a voice of Palestinian diaspora – connecting him to other exiled and/or diasporic poets. Or is he primarily a darling of Western media, of right wing migration control and anti-Islamic politics?

Mon, 9 November
Prof. Dr. Gun-Britt Kohler, Institute of Slavic Studies, UOL
Literary History as travel guide – Literary History as travelogue…? The case of Belarus.

What is the difference between a travel guide and a travelogue? And in how far is literary history – as a narration on spatially and temporally ‘travelling’ stories and their models – both, travel guide and travelogue, or none of them? Travel guides boom, whereas literary history seems to be in a deep crisis, questioning both its objects and itself. In this respect, and due to complex historical conditions, Belarusian literature and its historiographic conceptualizations are a very interesting case, raising questions about migrating identity narratives and models and their changing literary representations in a specific manner. Against the background of more recent models of literary history and with reference to the example of Belarus, the presentation examines whether literary history – taken as a specific kind of travelogue – could learn something from the genre of travel guide – and whether it should.

Wed, 11 November
Prof. Dr. Juliana Goschler, Institute of German Studies, UOL
Migration and education: Linguistic challenges in classroom and textbook language

Mastering the majority language is a prerequisite for successful education and academic achievement. However, the language used in classroom, textbooks, and other academic contexts is often very different from everyday spoken language. It combines features of standardized written dicourse and scientific terminology. For many children and youths, especially those growing up with multiple languages and outside the mainstream majority culture, this poses a challenge that often prevents formal education. I will explain some of these linguistic challenges and discuss the emergence of opaque selectional mechanisms in the German education system.

Mon, 16 November
Prof. Dr. Ralf Grüttemeier, Institute of Dutch Studies, UOL
Max Havelaar and the historicity of travelling things

The novel "Max Havelaar" by Multatuli, published for the first time in 1860 and translated several times into many languages, among which English and German, is generally regarded as one of the 10 best books ever written in Dutch. Except from literary arguments concerning its innovative style and complex structure, an important argument used in that regard is the shock it caused for the political establishment, leading immediately after its publication to debates in the Dutch Parliament about literature, due to the harsh picture that the novel gave of what is now Indonesia and what were then the Dutch East Indies (Nederlands-Indië). In my lecture, I will argue that there is also another dimension of the novel that might explain its attraction for over 150 years: it keeps on forcing us in several ways to reflect on the historicity of objects, of objects of art and of our own historicity as recipients of those objects.

Wed, 18 November
Prof. Dr. Paul Mecheril, Institute of Educational Sciences, UOL
Integration - a regime for controlling and normalisation

Today, the discourse on migration in Germany is essentially an integration discourse. At least since the rhetoric recognition of migration as a reality in Germany in the beginning of the new millennium, the German-speaking public has addressed the issue of migration, almost without exception, in one breath with the term ‘integration’. Since this is not exclusively concerned with an analysis but also with normative and regulative issues, ‘integration’ always relates to the desired control of social conditions. I want to think and talk about the integration policies that attempt to cover almost every aspect of migration life as a prime example of current government practices. Integration can be viewed from this perspective as a plural regime for controlling and normalisation, whereby particularly the educational institutions provide a large part of the disciplining practices.

Mon, 23 November
Prof. Dr. Joris Schapendonk, Radboud University Nijmegen
Fortress Europe as a Mobile Space? Understanding the Im/Mobility of African Migrants Within and Beyond the EU

While the mobility of many African migrants on their way to the European Union (EU) is blocked by the hard borders of ‘Fortress Europe’, those who have reached the EU find themselves in a relatively open space. As EU’s internal border controls have practically disappeared, migrants may easily find their ways to favoured destinations. While there is much political controversy about the intra-EU mobility of Africans as unwanted migrants (e.g. considering discussions on regularisation policies of southern EU member states and migrants’ asylum applications in multiple countries), we know remarkably little about how, in what directions, and for what reasons, Africans move across borders within the EU. This project will provide in-depth insights into the dynamics of this often unnoticed cross-border mobility in Europe. Thereby I focus on West African migrants as the group that is highly associated with contemporary unwanted migration to the EU.
This public lecture is based on the first empirical insights of an ongoing research project (2015-2018) that aims to follow the twists and turns and successes and failures of mobility processes. It particularly pays attention to the multiple aspirations of migrants, migrant-border encounters and the dynamic social networking involved. By seeing mobility as a resource, rather than a threat, I will challenge existing migration theories and policies that are dominated by sedentarist thought suggesting that migrants live settled/immobile lives after they have reached their destinations.

Wed, 25 November
Prof. Dr. Mohamed Baobaid, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
Challenges and opportunities of engaging collectivist immigrant communities to respond to family violence

This lecture will discuss the challenges that host communities, in particular mainstream service provides would face in working with immigrant families coming from collectivist back ground and involve with family violence. There is an assumption among many mainstream services that collectivist communities would tolerate violence against women and girls. Thus these communities would be seen as a problem and not usually included in the solutions. This lecture will share the Canadian Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration’s experience in creating a safe space for dialogue and collaboration between Muslim community leaders and Canadian mainstream services to address family violence in a meaning full way.

Wed, 14 October
Prof. Dr. Martin Butler, Prof. Dr. Karen Ellwanger, Dr. Lydia Potts 
Summary and Evaluation