The Constitutive Powers of Migration - Refugees and the Transformation of Migration Societies

Summer University

Migration has deep impacts on social structures and socio-political power relations in departure, transit and arrival countries. Migrants and refugees contest and transform dominant notions of nation-state, state control, national sovereignty, citizenship, and participation. In migration processes, both newcomers and people already living in arrival societies may voice their concerns about equality and inclusion while renegotiating the meaning of national belonging and other forms of membership. Such processes bring up new possibilities of belonging, unexpected alliances between social actors and new definitions of who we are.

Our focus at the KOSMOS Summer University 2017 is to reflect on the intersecting social, economic, political and cultural dynamics that arise in sending, transit and arrival societies as a result of migration. We aim to learn from practices of solidarity and conviviality in order to better conceptualize inclusion in migration societies. We will pay particular attention to migration regimes, which structure the conditions of the economic, racialized, gendered and sexualized violence and exploitation during migration processes. We will explore how migrants and refugees may act as agents of resistance, challenging these migration regimes. We consider it an obligation of academic teaching and research to develop socially inclusive concepts and critical research on migration, especially when struggles over resources become articulated through neoliberal and right-wing strategies of Othering in terms of class, gender and race.

For the KOSMOS Summer University in 2017, we plan to deal with the following topics:

  • RIGHT-WING POPULISM: The impact of (re)surfacing right-wing movements and right-wing politics in societies with a history of fascism, apartheid and/or colonialism.
  • INCLUSION AND CONVIVIALITY: Practices of conviviality developed through migration; Contested concepts of inclusion and exclusion, such as citizenship, belonging and memberships; Acts and structures of solidarities between citizens and non-citizens and their relation to state and supranational institutions; Impacts and struggles of migrants and refugees on urban and rural space.
  • MIGRANT AND REFUGEE MOVEMENTS: Power and privilege within migrant and refugee movements; the impact of class, gender and race; possible transforming effects of migrant and refugee movements on global and local class structures and racialized relations.
  • NARRATIVES OF MIGRATION: Gendered, racialized and culturalized narratives of the nation; new/old collective identities as antagonistic to each other; migrant and refugee narratives in the media as forms of knowledge production.
  • THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY: Ambivalences of a transforming civil society in relation to state institutions; especially with acts of solidarity and hospitality; divisions in civil society organizations and intensified political and policy based hostility.

The KOSMOS Summer University is an intensive two-week program of studying, reading, reflecting and learning from and with each other. International scholars from a variety of disciplines, whose work intersects with the field of migration studies, will be in conversation with junior researchers, with the aim of mutual exchange.

What We Offer:
KOSMOS Summer University aims to foster dialogue between scholars and students from universities on different continents. Each day will be dedicated to a specific topic, such as citizenship, labor, solidarity or right-wing movements. Different activities – such as lectures, workshops, field trips and´focus group discussions – will be structured according to these different themes. Through these activities, faculty members and students will have opportunities to produce collective knowledge, and enhance their understanding of different issues regarding how migration processes transform societies in different contexts. We plan to offer the opportunity for selected papers to be published in a peer reviewed special issue.

Fees and Scholarship:
There is no tuition fee for KOSMOS Summer University. We encourage students to apply for external scholarships to cover travel costs, accommodation and daily expenses. Nevertheless, if external funding is not available, travel reimbursement is possible in order to guarantee equal opportunities for students without a privileged economic background. Please apply with a motivation letter that also indicates your economic situation.

For further questions and information please visit our website or contact the organizing team: Dr. Ulrike Hamann, Chandra-Milena Danielzik, Holger Wilcke, Chen Liang and Leoni Keskinkilic, kosmossu2017(at)gmail(dot)com, Humboldt University Berlin, Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Institute of Social Sciences, Diversity and Social Conflict (Prof. Dr. Yurdakul), Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin

For further information (PDF)