Community Event – The Trump Immigration Executive Orders: A Constitutional Perspective

Another timely event organized by our community partners at the Bexley Public Library! Tuesday, 02/28, at 7pm, in the Auditorium.

During his first week in office, President Trump issued two controversial executive orders with profound implications for immigration and refugee policy. Professor Peter M. Shane from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law will discuss the scope of presidential power to issue executive orders and give an overview of the legal controversies surrounding the restrictions on immigrant entry and the admission of refugees, as well as the discouragement of “sanctuary jurisdictions.”


Syrian refugees ‘detrimental’ to Americans? The numbers tell a different story

A new article from Global Mobility Project team member, Jeffrey Cohen.

President Donald Trump wants to close the door on Syrian refugees, barring them indefinitely from settling in the U.S.

In an executive order signed on Jan. 27, the president wrote:

“I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.”

USRAP stands for United States Refugee Admissions Program.

In light of the president’s executive order and the continued debate over the status of refugees in the U.S., I’d like to reexamine two questions: What are the chances that a Syrian refugee might live in your community? And what is the risk that he or she would be a terrorist?

Continue reading here

No Dancing in the Streets

This lecture by Global Mobility Project affiliate member Danielle V. Schoon might be of interest for those who are interested in dance, performance, migration, or the Romani.

Description of the lecture:

This talk presents research that examines Romani (“Gypsy”) identity in Turkey in light of conflicting claims to belonging in the city, the nation, the European Union, and the “global village.” While Turkey’s Roma are being actively integrated into minority politics, they are also facing the dissolution of their communities, traditional occupations, and cultural life as privatization and land reforms dislocate the urban poor to state housing units in the name of improvement and ‘renewal.’ At the same time, international rights organizations are supporting counter-hegemonic state narratives via minority and human rights discourses that both enable and limit the boundaries of Romani identity. The talk will compare three cases that locate the intersection of urban space, state-led reforms, and Romani belonging in dance practice: 1) competing Hidrellez events that strategically place dance on the street or on the stage; 2) dance classes for dislocated Romani children that codify and stage social dance as a folk dance; and 3) Romani performers who travel the global belly dance circuit.

Community Working Lunch

On February 9, 2017, we had our first working lunch with community members at The Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus.  This meeting was well attended with representatives from local libraries, galleries, law offices, The City of Columbus, and refugee/immigrant organizations.

At this meeting we discussed possible collaborations, shared resources, overlapping interests, and discuss how the Global Mobility Project can be useful to community organizations. We believe that this discussion was just the first step in many fruitful endeavors.
Thank you to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus for hosting us and to all who attended.


Human Rights Program at Purdue University

Our colleagues over at Purdue University have built a program exploring issues of human rights.  Students and professors from the program joined us for the livestream of Peter Gatrell’s lecture: Refugees in Modern History: A European Perspective.  More information about this exciting program, including their mission statement, can be read below:

Mission Statement

As a moral principle and political force, Human Rights belongs inescapably to the experience of globalization. Everywhere you look, today’s leading political, economic, and cultural questions turn on disputes over the meaning and role of human rights. How we frame and use the language of human rights shapes our relationship with the world and our understanding of our own humanity.

The field of Human Rights is intrinsically interdisciplinary. While housed in the department of Philosophy, the Human Rights Program integrates studies in history, theory, and application. The program plays a key role in fulfilling the mission of the College of Liberal Arts, advancing intellectual synergies across the university with scholarly training, activity, and community engagement. In so doing, it brings the value of the study of the liberal arts to students in other colleges.

We are committed to:

  •  Fostering an environment of inquiry and creating a space for the open exchange of ideas about Human Rights;
  •  Providing vital practical training, enabling students to hone research, writing, and critical thinking skills, and to acquire valuable experience;
  •  Exploring how Human Rights connects us to other people, places, and times;
  •  Continuing to promote and redefine the impact of a liberal arts education.

Learn more about the Human Rights Program at Purdue University here.

Anish Kapoor Wins Genesis Prize, Gives $1m to Help Refugees

The artist is currently featured, together with others, at the Pizzuti Collection, one of our community partners!

British artist Sir Anish Kapoor is donating his $1 million award for being named the 2017 Genesis Prize Laureate to help alleviate the Syrian refugee crisis and expand the engagement of the Jewish Community in the global effort to support refugees. His pledge continues the tradition of Genesis Prize Laureates directing the $1 million award to meaningful causes.

Known as the “Jewish Nobel,” the annual Genesis Prize was established in 2012 to recognize individuals who have “attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professional fields, and who inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and the State of Israel.”

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Upcoming talk about Migration Policy in the Russian Federation

This talk may be of interest to those who study migration and mobility.

Regulating Flows of People Across Eurasia: Migration Policy in the Russian Federation

A Talk by Professor Sergei Abashin
European University at St. Petersburg
Tuesday, March 28, 3:00 – 4:30pm
Enarson Classroom Building 100

Join the Center for Slavic and East European Studies for a bilingual discussion about current migration policy within the Russian Federation. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has seen 25 years of migration flows as populations have adjusted to new state boundaries in the region, the aftermath of forced resettlement of populations during the Soviet Union, and the economic migration of populations from neighboring countries to work in Russia. With increased attention on migrants and immigration in countries across the world, this talk will focus on the flows of people within the Russian Federation, their causes and effects, and government and policy responses. Sergei Abashin, a professor of anthropology at the European University at St. Petersburg, is a specialist in migration studies and Central Asian nationality building who has done extensive field work in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The talk will be delivered in Russian, with simultaneous English translation. Students of Russian, as well as faculty and the general public who are interested in the topic but do not know Russian are encouraged to attend.

Click the image to view the flyer for the event

Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) and “Practices of Reception”

by Eleanor Paynter, PhD Student, Department of Comparative Studies

An audience of OSU students, faculty, staff, and community members gathered at the Wexner on Tuesday, Jan. 24, for a viewing and discussion of the award-winning and Oscar-nominated Italian documentary Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea), directed by Gianfranco Rosi and released in 2016. Set on the island of Lampedusa, south of mainland Sicily, Fuocoammare follows two main narratives: the daily life of Samuele, an inquisitive Lampedusan boy who plays in the island’s rugged landscape; and the regular rescue of asylum seekers as the crowded boats in which they cross the Mediterranean approach Italian territory.

After the viewing, three panelists discussed the powerful juxtaposition of these two narratives: Vera Brunner-Sung, filmmaker and Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre at OSU, and member of the Global Mobility team; Peter Gatrell, historian at the University of Manchester and expert on displacement in the modern world; and Jonathan Mullins, an Italian Cultural Studies scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian at OSU. Their conversation covered issues ranging from the representation of what has become known as Europe’s refugee crisis, to the treatment for Samuele’s lazy eye, to an emphasis on the technology of what Mullins called “the practices of reception.” Rescue scenes are usually preceded, for example, by shots of the large equipment used to intercept SOS calls and visualize the location of arriving ships.

In connecting the two primary narratives, the panel raised the question of the documentary’s essential focus; Gatrell commented that Fuocoammare seemed, in the end, to be not about migration, but about the island itself. As Brunner-Sung discussed, the film uses long shots and slow camera movements to allow the viewer to engage with the physical space of Lampedusa; these techniques, said Mullins, also play with notions of near and far. How close is a boat? How distant is the crisis?

Yet, panelists agreed, the film is also troubling and prompts viewers to consider the representation of asylum seekers and refugees and the film’s seeming insistence on keeping Samuele’s story separate from that of the rescue narrative: this is not about an encounter. One of the challenges for any writer or filmmaker dealing with precarious subjects is the issue of representation: Does the depiction essentialize? Does it, at another extreme, anonymize? Gatrell noted that, other than rescue, the circumstances shaping the “crisis” occur, for the most part, off-screen.

I weigh in here as someone focused on contemporary migration to Italy in my own work, and as a viewer who found herself quite moved by the film’s oscillation between narratives about Samuele and about the arrival of asylum seekers. In this juxtaposition, I see Lampedusa itself emerging as a place of reckoning: Samuele tries to come to terms with his physical relationship to the island (a fisherman shouldn’t get seasick); border patrol agents and rescue workers transport hundreds of asylum seekers from sinking boats to coast guard vessels, to identification/detention centers known as CIE (Centri di identificazione e espulsione). For arriving asylum seekers, the island represents rescue and extreme precarity and, as such, appears as a space of trauma. Finally seated on a coast guard ship, many seem in shock; one asylum seeker pours water over her head.

Since Gatrell’s lecture on historicizing refugees and displacement and the public viewing of Fuocoammare, U.S. immigration and asylum policy has entered a global spotlight. In light of President Trump’s recent executive orders on border security and immigration, I find it difficult to reflect on this film without asking about its reception by a U.S. audience, and its relevance for a U.S. viewership. Is Lampedusa too far away for U.S. viewers to connect the urgency of Mediterranean migration with questions being asked about U.S. borders? The film’s Oscar nomination, in the documentary category, and its celebration by critics, makes it likely to reach a wide international audience in the coming months, including U.S. cinema-goers. How might a film such as this affect public responses to forced displacement and immigration policy? Can a film that emphasizes the mechanized routine of migrant reception at Italian shores provoke compassion in audiences outside Europe for the 65 million forcibly displaced people around the world, and for those in other countries who want to come to the U.S. for study, for work, for family, or for their own safety?


Refugees in Modern History: A European Perspective

peter-gatrellRefugees in Modern History: A European Perspective
By Peter Gatrell, Manchester University
Date: Monday, January 23, 2017
Time: 2:00-3:30 PM
Location: Enarson Classroom Building, Room 100
OSU Event
Sponsors: The Office of International Affairs

We have just finished editing the higher definition video of the lecture.  You can watch it here:

Synopsis: The plight of refugees has again become a dominant focus of public debate as it was in the aftermath of the two world wars. It seems to speak to the desperation of displaced people and the intransigent stance adopted by many governments. In reflecting on the stance and role of historians, this talk proposes a history of population displacement that is attentive to the circumstances, actions and trajectories of refugees in different times and places, and what it means for refugees to encounter government officials and aid agencies, and to interact with one another as well as with people who had not been displaced. In thinking about refugees as agents rather than as flotsam and jetsam, the talk considers how refugees have expressed themselves, including as historians of their own predicament. My talk draws upon my own research and upon the growing historiography on key sites and moments of displacement in the 20th century. Ultimately it invites the listener to think about the category of ‘refugee’ and the contours of ‘refugee history’.

Peter Gatrell is at professor of history at Manchester University, UK.  He primarily a historian of population displacement in the modern world. Most of his current research activity is devoted to a monograph on the history of Europe since 1945, with a focus on migration in/to Europe. This will be published by Penguin Books and Basic Books.

His latest book is entitled The Making of the Modern Refugee (Oxford University Press, 2013; paperback 2015).

Video recorded on January, 23, 2017.

Produced and edited: Lisa Beiswenger
Introduction: Theodora Dragostinova
Speaker: Peter Gatrell
PowerPoint: Peter Gatrell
The Global Mobility Team: Vera Brunner-Sung, Jeffrey Cohen, Theodora Dragostinova, Yana Hashamova, and Robin Judd
Produced with the assistance of the Office of International Affairs