C – Mobilities, migrations, and transnational actors

Refugees, diasporas and expatriates: perspectives on exclusion and inclusion

Event Details

  • Date

    Saturday, 27 June - 8:30–10:30

  • Venue
    tba
  • Theme
    C – Mobilities, migrations, and transnational actors
Panelists
  • Emmanuelle Comtat (Grenoble Alps University, Faculté de Droit)
  • Maik Schmerbauch (University Hildesheim)
  • Mohammad Shameem CHITBAHAL  (Bordeaux-Montaigne University)
  • Sharim Yehuda (University of California Merced)
  • Sorin Antohi (Cantemir Project Association)

Papers

  • Emmanuelle Comtat
    The process of memorial marginalization of the former French settlers of Algeria into the French society after the independence of Algeria

    The process of memorial marginalization of the former French settlers of Algeria into the French society after the independence of Algeria

    The Algerian war (1954-1962) was a decolonization war and also a civil war. To restore peace and the national concord, French public authorities imposed silence and oblivion on the colonial past after the end of Empire. But the former French settlers of Algeria wanted to convey their side of the story and continued to support “French Algeria”. This contribution is focused on the process of memorial marginalization of the French repatriates when they were reintegrated into the French society after their return to France in 1962. I propose to analyze how they built as a minority group a marginalized social identity in the French society and how they mobilized in public space for the recognition of their controversial memory.
  • Maik Schmerbauch
    Minorities and Integration of expelled catholics in geman dioceses after 1945

    Minorities and Integration of expelled catholics in geman dioceses after 1945

    The expulsion and migration ofmillions of catholic refugees from the former silesian eastern parts of Germany after 1945 into the middle of Germany had a massive impact on the life of the catholic parishes in all german dioceses. Especially this happened in the big diaspora diocese Hildesheim located in the middle of West-Germany after 1945. Until 1945 this diocese was mainlyinprotestanticshaped territoryand had only 200 000 catholics out of almost 10 million inhabitants of this territory. With the massive migration after 1945 mostly of catholic Silesians the parishes of the diaspora diocese faced a lot of big challenges to handle their catastrophic personal situation and to guarant the spiritual welfare. Cause of this migration the numberof all parishes of the diocese Hildesheim raised from 100 to 300 and the entire number of catholics from 200 000 to almost 700 000 thousand. The church hasbeen faced the following challenges (only examples) with this migration in almost each parishwith high numbers of refugees: a) provide a regular catholic service in the communities, mostly together in protestantic church buildings, whatoften caused a lot of irritation with protestantics b) integrate partially the catholic silesian tradition into theparisheslike very special pilgrimages, traditional silesian prayers and silesian customsc) provide a special silesian-polish speaking welfare, missionand administrationd) provide tasksfor the expelled silesian priests in the parishes of the diocese.
  • Mohammad Shameem CHITBAHAL 
    The Chagossian Diaspora - Deportation, exile and resistance

    The Chagossian Diaspora - Deportation, exile and resistance

    The Chagos Archipelago was discovered by the Portuguese in 1512. While it was still inhabited, the Dutch settled there between 1598 and 1710 before making way for the French. Under the French domination, the first African slaves were brought to the Chagos Archipelago to work in the coconut plantations. In 1814, the United Kingdom took possession of the Chagos Archipelago as a result of the Napoleonians’ defeat. Today, the Chagos Archipelago is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory. Diego Garcia, the largest island of the atoll has been transformed into a U.S air base after deporting its local population in the 1970’s. Who are the Chagossians and in which conditions were they forced to leave their homeland? What are the impacts of this American outpost, both on the military and cultural front and to what extent it might be viewed as “the expansion of American businesses”? I will discuss how the arrival of the Americans on Diego Garcia has contributed to uproot its indigenous population by forcing them to exile to Mauritius.
  • Sharim Yehuda
    Displacement, Film, and the Future: Seeking Refuge in Contemporary USA

    Displacement, Film, and the Future: Seeking Refuge in Contemporary USA

    One central question will be entertained in my presentation: What is the role of the artist/intellectual/filmmaker in turbulent times of mass displacement, racial oppression, and an overall state of moral crisis? How can we imagine social change? Drawing on filmed interviews that I have conducted with migrant and refugee families in Houston as well as footage from my recent films, we are in it (2016), Lessons In Seeing (2017), and Seeds of All Things (July, 2018), I will explore communal and individual visions of hope and social change. While migrant and refugee narratives have long been dominated by excessive victimization interlaced with a heightened sense of decontextualized hypersensational heavily mediated image of hysteria and terror, I ask how film (and thus art) can initiate a conversation in spaces that are often dominated by apathy and fear. Moreover, I am interested in extending Walter Benjamin’s noted injunction that “history breaks down into images, not into histories” [or stories, or narratives] and I would like to question the role of the image in shaping of collective imagination of asylum seeking, belonging, home, and movement across and within borders. Last, I argue that an alternative form of representation and knowledge distribution is central to the remaking of the transitory and fragile archives of marginalized communities, opening a window onto unrecorded feelings and creativity: both radical seeds in claiming untold histories and in catalyzing social change.
  • Sorin Antohi
    The Transfiguration of Migrant Romania: From Migrant Stigma to Diasporic Apotheosis

    The Transfiguration of Migrant Romania: From Migrant Stigma to Diasporic Apotheosis

    At least one third of Romania’s citizens have been on the move across state borders over the last three decades, more massively since 2002 (elimination of EU visas) and especially since 2007 (accession to the EU). This guesstimate does not refer to tourists. At least a quarter of the (largely theoretical) 2019 total population of 19.53 million (down from 23.21 in 1990) are living abroad at all times. Some commute between Romania and Western Europe, finding (frequently) precarious jobs or studying, but most of them (tend to) settle down in the West, increasingly in higher-end and even prestigious positions, sometimes after trying out more than one host country. However inaccurately (for various reasons, ranging from the difficulty to count EU nomads to self-interested manipulation), official statistics are slowly adjusting to this new reality. And so are state institutions, political parties (especially during electoral campaigns), social scientists, popular culture, religious organizations, family and community networks, etc. This growing extraterritorial population, mainly a precariat in the beginning, has been construed and instrumentalized by various social actors in various ways. In a nutshell, the dominant stereotype related to these moveable Romanians (of various ethnicities; this calls for a discussion of the transformation of minority/majority conditions, intercultural transfers, emergence of post-national, post-territorial and post-historical collective identities, unprecedented hybridities and creolizations, etc.) has moved from migrant stigma (a variation on a resilient tradition of ethnic stigma) to diasporic apotheosis. In the 1990s and the early 2000s, the collective nickname of the migrants was ‘strawberry pickers’. More recently, there is talk of ‘diaspora’ (a new concept when referring to Romanians, which suddenly places economic migrants in a higher, symbolic league) a select population seen as the better part of the nation, the main agent of historical change, from ‘civilizing process’ to high-tech revolution to moral and civic-political transformation. Thus, it would appear that sending Romania’s population to Western Europe (at least in part, at least for a while) is the ultimate (final?) solution the country’s problems, from economy and politics to identity. This is a significant departure from the endemic debates of the last two centuries, which have resulted in another solution—the metaphysical exaltation of origins, territoriality/spatiality, Volksgeist, and of the (essentialist) immobile, unchanging ethnic nation, a vision I call ethnic ontology. Beyond the (self-ironic) title reference to Cioran’s book, The Transfiguration of Romania (1936), the paper examines this fait social total and, after looking at other cases of mass migration, attempts to suggest a new theoretical framework for the discussion of contemporary transnational minorities and diaspora.

Abstract

Abstract will follow shortly