Digest for March 3, 2017

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Elizabeth Lunstrum
York University, Geography, Faculty Member
Environmental displacement: the common ground of climate change, extraction and conservation (with co-authors Anna Zalik, York University and Pablo Bose, University of Vermont)

In this introduction to a special section on environmental displacement, we introduce the concept and  ground it in seemingly distinct processes of climate change,extraction,and conservation.We understand environmental displacement as a process by which communities find the land they occupy irrevocably altered in ways that foreclose or otherwise impede possibilities for habitation or else disrupt access to resources within these spaces of life, work and socio-cultural reproduction. Such dislocation amounts to environmental displacement on the grounds that it is justified by environmental or ecological rationales,motivated by desires to access natural resources, or else provoked by human-induced environmental change and attempts to address it. Building from here, we make the case for why climate change and efforts to mitigate and adapt to it, extractive industries, and conservation initiatives should be analysed together as displacement inducing phenomena,as they are empirically connected in consequential ways and materialise from similar logics. We additionally lay out the contributions of the individual articles of the special issue and draw connections across them to help provide a preliminary framework for thinking through environmental displacement, including its causes, logics, and consequences, especially for vulnerable populations.

Jeffrey Cohen
Ohio State University, Anthropology, Faculty Member
Syrian refugees ‘detrimental’ to Americans? The numbers tell a different story

In light of the president’s executive order and the continued debate over the status of refugees in the U.S., I’d like to reexamine two questions: What are the chances that a Syrian refugee might live in your community? And what is the risk that he or she would be a terrorist?

 Martin Shuster
Goucher College, Philosophy and Religion, Faculty Member
A Phenomenology of Home: Jean Améry on Homesickness

As the contemporary nation state order continues to produce genocide and destruction,  and thereby refugees, and as the national and international landscape continues to see the existence of refugees as a political problem, Jean Améry’s 1966 essay “How Much Home Does a Person Need?” takes on a curious urgency. I say ‘curious’ because his own conclusions about the essay’s aims and accomplishments appear uncertain and oftentimes unclear (note how Améry himself surprisingly suggests that his remarks will have “little general validity” – a statement that will need to be properly situated).

Università di Pisa, Scienze Politiche, Faculty Member
Dublin ‘reloaded’ or time for ambitious pragmatism?

A critical evalutation of the proposal for a Dublin IV Regulation, presented by the Commission in May 2016.

Lyndsey Stonebridge
University of East Anglia, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty Member
Textual Practice Statelessness and the poetry of the borderline

Every conflict brings its refugees, but the wars of the twentieth century pro-duced population movements on a new scale. The peace of these wars was almost as bad as the fighting: for every border re-drawn, every treaty signed, millions shifted. They shift still. Traumatic testimony has long been the life-writing genre of choice for those wanting to give voice to the dispossessed. But can trauma really capture the complexity of this territorial violence? There are many ways of moving across a border, or, as is the case for millions today, living on a border.
Luisa Marin

University of Twente, Public Administration, Faculty Member
The EU’s approach to the current refugee crisis, between strengthening of external borders and the slow emergence of solidarity

The EU’s approach to the so-called ‘refugee crises’, and more in general to the governance of irregular migration, is one of most politically debated and challenging domains of the EU. This chapter deals with EU’s response to the crisis on the basis of the EU’s Agenda on Migration of 13 May 2015 and its implementation. It will map the evolutions of the different policies in questions and their main legal innovations: which ideas and solutions have been developed in order to manage a phenomenon whose morphology has radically changed in the past couple of years?

Ulrich Schmiedel
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Evangelisch-theologische Fakultät, Faculty Member
Mourning the Un-Mournable? Political Theology between Refugees and Religion, Political Theology 2017, 1-17.

Since the arrival, or the attempted arrival, of millions of refugees in Europe, the performances of the Center for Political Beauty – a Berlin-based collective of artists and activists – have had a huge impact on public and political debates about Germany’s migration policies. In this paper, I analyze the performance “The Dead Are Coming” in which the artists buried refugees who drowned in their attempt to enter the European Union. Drawing on Judith Butler’s political philosophy of performativity, I assess “The Dead Are Coming” as a “doing” rather than a “describing” of dignity.

Kelly Oliver
Vanderbilt University, Philosophy, Faculty Member
CARCERAL HUMANITARIANISM: Logics of Refugee Detention

Humanitarian aid is both the “cure” and the “poison.” It’s the cure insofar as right now it is only chance we’ve got for helping refugees under current immigration and asylum policies of most nation states. That is to say, until we move beyond nation states and their alibi of humanitarian aid, groups such as Doctors without Borders and The Red Cross are absolutely necessary, and their volunteers and aid workers are praiseworthy. Yet, as long as we hold onto the alibi of humanitarian aid, a more properly political solution will not be forthcoming.

Rebecca Nedostup
Brown University, History, Faculty Member

The burial of war dead was a key element of displacement and community formation during wartime and postwar China and Taiwan, 1937–1955. Reckoning with the physical burial and spiritual pacification of civilian as well as military dead posed practical and epistemological problems for the tens of millions forced to migrate amid shifting political and military boundaries. Various populations of living and dead refugees became increasingly politicized on the national and international levels, affecting local rituals and family burials.

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