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Call for papers: Postcoloniality and Forced Migration: Displacement, Protection and Control

Call for papers: Postcoloniality and Forced Migration: Displacement, Protection and Control

Convener: Dr. Martin Lemberg-Pedersen, Assistant professor, Global Refugee Studies, Aalborg University. Supported by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (FKK).


11.12.2019 - 13.12.2019


For decades, European and other Western governments have responded to the occurrence of displacement with a focus on more restrictive immigration and border policies, interspersed with humanitarian appeals to aid in regions of origin and limited relocation and resettlement of refugees. Recent times have also witnessed the renaissance of attempts to externalize or “stretch” migration control beyond their national territories, and the application of humanitarian scripts to naval search and rescue as well as to violent interdiction and pull-back practices. These transnational developments have been accompanied by the blurring of public and private interests in migration management, so that actors from the weapons-, security-, IT- and consultancy industries feature more prominently in the multi-leveled governance of displacement, the various aspects of which has emerged as profitable transnational markets themselves.

This workshop is premised on the need to engage with these developments from an interdisciplinary, postcolonial perspective. The aim is to bring together scholarship on borders, forced migration, political theory, with critical research on humanitarianism, colonialism and slavery. This interdisciplinarity is seen as urgently needed in order to unsettle and counter “presentist”, nation-centric and securitized labels, figures, and myths of difference, which characterize the dominant Western epistemologies and practices concerning displacement. This also includes critically deconstructing and examining liberal theory, through the prism of insider theory, its structural exclusions and postcolonial blind spots, and the relationship between feasibility claims and geopolitics and ideologies of nationalism and settler colonialism. Thus, the workshop seeks to establish interdisciplinary dialogues with the aim of rehistoricizing and repoliticizing the study of displacement politics by questioning parallel logics, social hierarchies, geopolitics, policy transfers and temporal arcs between between past and present.

Contributions for the workshop can include, but are not limited to:

  • Postcolonial analyses of the evolution and logics of humanitarian migration control
  • Actors and interests in the extraction, ordering and commodification of data about displaced populations past and/or present.
  • Human rights and naval border controls in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Indian Oceans in current/colonial times
  • Indian removal policy in the US
  • Theoretical and/or case-based analyses of colonial reconcentration, incarceration and detention practices
  • Subjectivity and agency in response to current/colonial displacement governance
  • The role of colonial spatial imagination in European, Australian and American externalization politics
  • Discussions of displacement practices, dynamics and markets in current and/or colonial institutions
  • The representation of violence and displacement in current and/or colonial media outlets
  • Markets of displacement management and control
  • The role of racialization and deracination in current and/or colonial displacement politics
  • Feasibility and idealism in postcolonial immigration ethics
  • Structural exclusion in liberal theorizing on immigration

This focused workshop will last 2,5 day and is hosted by Global Refugee Studies, Aalborg University, Copenhagen Campus. Confirmed keynotes include: Sharla Fett, Phillip Cole, Rosanne Adderley, Lucy Mayblin and Martin Lemberg-Pedersen. Accepted speakers are expected to prepare a draft paper, and will be assigned a paper to comment, in order to facilitate discussions, and a possible joint publication based on the workshop theme. Limited funding for travel and accommodation is available for younger scholars otherwise unable to participate.

Call for abstract-deadline: October 13, 2019. Expected answers to participation: October 21.

Abstracts, max. 300 words, short bios and motivation for travel support, should be sent to lemberg@cgs.aau.dk.


GRS - Global Refugee Studies, Department of Politics and Society, Aalborg University


Aalborg University, Copenhagen Campus