Modular Period IV - Seminar 2

Migrants as Danger? Reimagining Self and Other
(Josefina Echavarría)


Contemporary peace and conflict studies tend to absorb the topics of migration and security in one single breath. When migration is treated as a security problem, the language and practice of exceptionality is invoked in an attempt to secure the ethical and physical boundaries of the ‘self’ against potential ‘threatening others,’ exhibiting a tendency in which subjectivities and bodies are safeguarded and regulated inside and outside of the structures of nation states. Nonetheless, an almost immediate resistance is provoked by this manner of approaching the question of migration: is migration a security issue? These critical voices echo questions of alternative political allegiance and the shattering of territorial boundaries. Aren’t we all one? We can see both how walls are erected in a violent attempt to keep ‘them’ outside, and we also experience manifold instances in which native and foreigners communicate empathically and transform daily conflicts.
However, these two simple antagonistic possibilities fall short when seen through the lenses of the Many Peaces. Which possibilities for rethinking identities beyond self and other are already in place around the globe? How can we challenge fear of otherness and so push the boundaries of our imagination in order to rethink practices of inclusion?
This course invites students to focus their attention on representations of migration that articulate inclusive political communities and create alternative ways of belonging.

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