Workshop — Forced Migration in/of Asia: Connections, Convergences, Comparisons



WORKSHOP DIRECTORS:

Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho
Associate Professor, Geography, National University of Singapore
elaine.ho@nus.edu.sg

Cabeiri Robinson
Associate Professor, International Studies & Anthropology, University of Washington
cdr33@uw.edu

WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS:

Josee Huennekes, PhD Candidate, Swinburne Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology
“Remittances and Responsibilities among Rohingya Families in Kuala Lumpur’s Suburbs”

Umut Korkut, Reader (Associate Professor), Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University
“The Discursive governance of forced migration management: The Turkish shift from reticence to activism in Asia”

Sang Kook Lee, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology, Yonsei University
“From Activists to Entrepreneurs: Burmese Refugees in South Korea”

Kirsten Mcconnachie, Assistant Professor, Law, University of Warwick
“Boundaries and Belonging in the Indo-Myanmar Borderlands: Chin refugees in Mizoram”

Anne McNevin, Associate Professor, Politics, New School for Social Research, The New School
“Human Displacement and the Crisis of Hospitality: Reflections on the Spirit of Refugee Law and the Example of Acehnese Fishermen”

Mallica Mishra, Associate Faculty, Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (Development Studies), Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India
“Tibetan Refugees in India: Learnings in Exile”

Rebecca Nedostup, Associate Professor, History, Brown University
“Home & Land: Profiting from the Displaced during Wartime”

Glen Peterson, Professor, History, University of British Columbia
“Refugees, Forced Migration and China’s Entry into the “Family of Nations”

Natasha Raheja, PhD Candidate and Adjunct Instructor, Anthropology, New York University
“From Minority to Majority: Pakistani Hindu Claims to Indian Citizenship”

Wen-Ching Ting, PhD Candidate, Migration Studies, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex
“Actors, Constellations of Mobility and ‘Home’ Territory: case of displaced Shanmigrants along the Thai-Burma border”

CALL FOR WORKSHOP PAPERS:

Forced migration in Asian countries and dispersing across Asia (henceforth Asian forced migration) is drawing international attention to the extent and nature of humanitarian assistance made available to displaced persons. The conduct of the International Refugee Regime (IRR), which evolved out of post-war European agendas, may have limited reach over the different types of forced migration happening in Asia. Critically examining Asian forced migration reveals the sustained effects of colonial and imperial legacies and how culturally specific notions of territory, sovereignty, legal systems, and kinship, co-ethnic or other social ties influence the treatment of refugees, internally displaced people and other types of human displacement. The challenge is to write the Asian forced migration experience into a wider global narrative without losing sight of the specificity of particular regional situations.

Our workshop seeks to critically examine the InterAsian connections forged through forced migration experiences, lending to revised inflections upon the way we approach studies of forced migration through hitherto accepted national or regional framings. Through our workshop, we also examine convergences in how framings of territory, sovereignty and legal systems in Asian societies impact the way forced migration is managed or experienced by forced migrants themselves. We further elicit comparisons of how Asian states have responded to forced migration in relation to the categorization and management norms that developed in Europe and internationally during the post-war decades.

The workshop aims to develop a research agenda concerning how studying Asian forced migration might contribute to wider debates in the fields of refugee, migration and Asian studies. We encourage papers that focus on one or both of the following themes:

  • Consider the multiplicity of Asian forced migration such as the multiple ways in which forced migration is experienced and managed and thus the possibility of multiple regimes governing forced migration in an interAsian context. Exploring the presence of multiple regimes requires investigating the history and contemporary experiences of of refugees, displaced persons and forced migrants on their own terms, rather than fitting them into conventional legal definitions. It also provides the opportunity to critically engage with the empirical diversity of political and social power that can generate regimes of refugee recognition and managements, rather than assuming the singularity of primacy of the IRR).

  • Examine the interface of an array of social actors implicated in Asian forced migration, ranging from the ground level to institutionally organized interventions, locally and transnationally. Such interfaces include, but are not limited to, the interactions of community-based organisations or other local networks, national governments from source or receiving countries of forced migration, governments-in-exile, international organisations, and international non-governmental organisations. Investigating the interface of such interactions open up a dialogue on how knowledge structures and practices pertaining to forced migration circulate in an InterAsian context with global influences in mind.

By curating papers that explore the multiplicity of forced migration and the interfaces of actors and institutions, our workshop aims to reposition “Asia” as a central theoretical and empirical site for studies of forced migration. It seeks to do this by examining how local dynamics and social interactions that arise out of displacement experiences shape InterAsian and international knowledge, and ultimately how international practices and norms are re-appropriated locally. The InterAsian analyses that we undertake through this workshop bring into view how the imagery and functioning of “Asia” has been sedimented through accrued layers and episodes of forced migration.