Migration, Borders, Diaspora


Course lead: Dr Lucy Mayblin

2021

This module explores the ways in which colonial histories continue to shape contemporary immigration policies, particularly in Britain. The module aims to explain how immigration policies result in racially stratified policies of mobility, immobility, inclusion and exclusion. It examines the hostile environment policy approach taken since 2010 through the case studies of Go Home vans, family migration, and asylum policy. It also examines ideas of diaspora.

This module explores the ways in which colonial histories continue to shape contemporary immigration policies, particularly in Britain. The module aims to explain how immigration policies result in racially stratified policies of mobility, immobility, inclusion and exclusion.

It examines the hostile environment policy approach taken since 2010 through the case studies of Go Home vans, family migration, and asylum policy. It also examines ideas of diaspora.


Lectures

1. Asylum in Britain and the Legacies of Colonialism

Dr Lucy Mayblin

Despite being located far from any current conflict zones, and hosting a tiny fraction of the world’s refugees, Great Britain is generally hostile to people who are seeking asylum. We make it very difficult for people who are seeking asylum to arrive in Britain, and if they do manage to make it here were make both their lives, and their chances of being successful in their asylum application, difficult. This session will explain who asylum seekers and refugees are, where refugee rights came from, and how we can understand current hostility to people seeking asylum when we situate the contemporary moment in the context of colonial histories.

Despite being located far from any current conflict zones, and hosting a tiny fraction of the world’s refugees, Great Britain is generally hostile to people who are seeking asylum. We make it very difficult for people who are seeking asylum to arrive in Britain, and if they do manage to make it here were make both their lives, and their chances of being successful in their asylum application, difficult.

This session will explain who asylum seekers and refugees are, where refugee rights came from, and how we can understand current hostility to people seeking asylum when we situate the contemporary moment in the context of colonial histories.

2. Rethinking Diaspora

Dr Ipek Demir

The field of diaspora studies, despite its transnational promise, has too often got trapped in methodologically nationalist perspectives, confining discussions of diaspora to nation-centric understandings and discourses. This has happened despite many diaspora theorists, Avtar Brah, Robin Cohen, Paul Gilroy and others having discussed diaspora within the context of empire. In this session we will examine the spatial and temporal limitations this has brought to our understanding of the migrations of peoples and how ignoring the colonial and empire axis of diaspora contribute to North-centric (Eurocentric) perspectives and fail to recognise the pivotal role of diasporas in decolonising the Global North.

The field of diaspora studies, despite its transnational promise, has too often got trapped in methodologically nationalist perspectives, confining discussions of diaspora to nation-centric understandings and discourses. This has happened despite many diaspora theorists, Avtar Brah, Robin Cohen, Paul Gilroy and others having discussed diaspora within the context of empire.

In this session we will examine the spatial and temporal limitations this has brought to our understanding of the migrations of peoples and how ignoring the colonial and empire axis of diaspora contribute to North-centric (Eurocentric) perspectives and fail to recognise the pivotal role of diasporas in decolonising the Global North.