Gruesome reports on migrants—of hundreds drowning as their rickety boats capsized in unforgiving waters, of them being enslaved or detained in squalid camps in Europe and Asia, even of their summary executions on the high seas—have punctuated news headlines with alarming regularity in recent years. What is novel about these reports are not the tragic incidents themselves which have a long history, but their scale as the magnitude of migratory flows across the Mediterranean and the Bay of Bengal have risen exponentially in recent years. The International Organization for Migration, to cite just one figure, estimated that at least 30,400 migrants arrived in Greece till May 12 this year compared to 34,000 in all of 2014.
If the immediate triggers for the rapid increase in migrations across the Mediterranean are obvious—foreign intervention in civil wars from Libya through Syria to Yemen and Iraq, and the continuing instability in Afghanistan—the vast numbers involved raise several questions. These streams of migrants themselves are part of a larger chain of trans-African and trans-Asian migrations as people in places further away move closer to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean shores to better situate them for the passage to Europe or to Southeast Asia and beyond. While the direct results of Western (or Western-backed) interventions are obvious, what are their indirect corollaries—Boris Pasternak’s “the fruits of fruits, consequences of consequences”—ranging from the structural adjustment policies that wrecked African economies to the U.S. and European actions that enable Israel to expel Palestinians from their homeland? Which populations are more likely to see migration as a route to a more secure future? How have foreign investments in land (and the consequent expulsion of peoples) and environmental degradation (and consequent loss of patterns of livelihood) fuelled these migrations?
This conference, sponsored by the Indian Institute of Advanced Study and Binghamton University, is designed to explore some of these contemporary issues of migration and citizenship(s) in Africa, Asia, and Europe historically. The considerations outlined above raise a series of questions:
A limited number of participants will be invited for the seminar. Those interested in participating should send an abstract (500-700 words) of the proposed paper to following Email ID's:
A limited number of participants will be invited for the Conference. Those interested in participating should send an abstract (500-700 words) of the proposed paper along with their C.V. to:
The last date for submission of abstract (500-700 words) is 15 January 2016. The date for short listing of participants is 25 January, 2016. The Institute intends to send Invitation letters to selected participants by 31 January, 2016. It is the policy of the Institute to publish the proceedings of the seminars it organizes. Hence, all invited participants will be expected to submit complete papers to the Academic Resource Officer, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla – 171005 by 17 May, 2016.
IIAS, Shimla, will be glad to extend its hospitality during the Conference period and is willing to reimburse, if required, rail or air travel expenses from the place of current residence in India, or the port of arrival in India, and back.
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