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Public Seminar Series, Hilary term 2019

Series convenor: Dr Naohiko Omata

About the seminar series

This public seminar series consists of two separate themes: 1) Refugees in the United Kingdom and 2) Urban Refugees. Speakers come from diverse backgrounds, including both practitioners and academics, to consolidate existing empirical and theoretical knowledge of the proposed themes.

1)  Refugees in the United Kingdom

At the end of 2016, the United Kingdom hosted nearly 120,000 refugees from a range of countries. While the available literature on this population has been growing, many areas of refugees’ post-resettlement/asylum lives remain under-explored. This seminar series will offer insights into the ways in which refugees in the UK have adapted to their new lives, with a focus on understanding the lived experiences of their economic and socio-cultural integration – or lack thereof.

2)  Urban Refugees

Currently, more than half of the world’s refugees live outside of designated refugee camps or settlements, surviving with varying degrees of independence and success, and often living under the radar of aid organisations. This seminar series will enable audiences to cultivate a better understanding of the day-to-day lives of ‘self-settled’ refugees around the world, particularly in the Global South.

About the seminar

Paying home visits to mark social events and maintain networks is an established cultural pattern in Arab countries. Northern (Arabic-speaking, largely Muslim) Sudanese displaced in Cairo in the 1990s experienced a deterioration of their legal and political status during the 1990s, but nevertheless made significant efforts to continue visiting each other in their temporary homes. This often meant having to travel long distances to and among members of their widely scattered networks. My talk proposes that Sudanese visiting practices contributed to a shifting constellation of mobile homemaking strategies that emerged during their sustained exile. Ranging across space and scale, and connecting people through experiences and values of Sudanese “homeliness”, visiting during these fraught years recreated familiar daily practices—home—but also encouraged new meanings of homeland and Sudanese belonging—Home—to take shape. Policy positions on urban refugees taken by the Egyptian government, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, International Organization for Migration, and other humanitarian aid and resettlement agencies represented a third dimension—HOME—a state-centred view woven through the more familiar relationship between home and Home. These three dimensions of home, Home, and HOME together produced a uniquely Sudanese ‘constellation of home’ that helped them navigate the sustained uncertainty of their lives in Cairo.

About the speaker

Anita Fábos is Associate Professor of International Development and Social Change in the Department of International Development, Community, and Environment at Clark University, USA. Fábos is an anthropologist who has conducted research and outreach among refugees and other forced migrants in urban settings in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Her scholarship and practice pursues a number of interconnected themes in the area of forced migration and refugee studies: how people make and transform ethnic and racial boundaries and boundary markers, people’s experiences of displacement and challenges to gender norms, historical shifts in citizenship and nationality laws, methods and ethics of research with hidden, vulnerable and mobile populations, transcultural social networks, and refugee narratives and representations. Starting with a lengthy period of action research, NGO activism and outreach in Cairo, Fábos’ research and writing has followed the movements of Muslim Arab Sudanese—her main research participants--from their place of first exile in Egypt, to asylum in Europe and North America, and towards the formation of a diaspora straddling Islamic ‘space’ (countries in which Islam is the religion of the state) and the ‘asylum space’ of countries of resettlement in Europe and North America.

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Registration is not required. Refreshments will be served after the seminar.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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Forthcoming events

Book launch: The Politics of Crisis-Making: Forced Displacement and Cultures of Assistance in Lebanon

Wednesday, 29 May 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Skilled worker visas for refugees – a qualitative evaluation of the UK’s Displaced Talent Mobility Pilot

Wednesday, 05 June 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

A celebration of the life of David Turton

Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA