These seven interviews were produced in collaboration with the Global Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Recorded in 2021, they introduce viewers to a series of articles on ‘De-exceptionalising Displacement: Rethinking Citizenship and Mobility’, the subject of a Special Issue of the journal Humanity edited by Heath Cabot, University of Pittsburgh, and Georgina Ramsay, University of Delaware. The Special Issue builds on efforts within both scholarship and political engagement that seek to ‘demigrantize’ migration (Dahinden 2016; Drotbohm and Lenz 2018) and ‘migrantize’ citizens (Anderson 2016, 2017). It asks: What does de-exceptionalizing displacement allow us to see and do? What are the limits of such an approach? In what ways are the forms of displacement and dispossession experienced by less mobile people or those constrained in place similar to or different from populations who move across national borders? What forms of precarity are peculiar to the contemporary neoliberal moment, and what does it demand from scholarship and political engagement alike?
How can displacement connect homeless and refugee people?
Dr Georgina Ramsay is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Delaware. In this interview she talks to Bridget Anderson about the meaning of displacement in multiple contexts, and her comparative work with homeless people in the US and people designated as refugees in Uganda.
Georgina’s research focuses on refugees and forced migration, citizenship and sovereignty, gender and motherhood, violence and humanitarianism, particularly in Central Africa and the African diaspora. Her latest book is Impossible Refuge: The Control and Constraint of Refugee Futures (Routledge, 2017).
What has citizenship to do with migration?
Professor Bridget Anderson is Director of MMB and Professor of Migration, Mobilities and Citizenship at the University of Bristol. Here she talks to Heath Cabot, co-editor of the special issue on ‘De-exceptionalising Displacement’ in Humanity, about her idea of methodological denationalism and the need to re-exceptionalise citizenship. These concepts interrogate assumptions about the nation state and how it turns people on the move into migrants.
Bridget’s research focuses on the relation between migration, race and nation, historically and in the contemporary world, and how the differences between the ‘migrant’ and the ‘citizen’ are constructed in law and in social and political practice. She is the author of Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Controls (Oxford University Press, 2013).
How do future imaginaries shape present lives?
Professor Heike Drotbohm is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Here she talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about her article on aspirational anxieties and the politics of displacement in São Paulo and her interest in the notion of care as providing different constellations of support for mobile populations in the city.
Heike’s research focuses on international and transnational migration, in particular, kinship and care relations, transnational law and citizenship, immobility and deportation. She has carried out ethnographic work in creole transatlantic societies, Canada and the United States.
What do illegalized migrants think of deservingness?
Professor Susan Bibler Coutin is Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, and Anthropology in the School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine. Here she talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about notions of deservingness forged by illegalized residents as their way of making sense of their extremely challenging situation – a process she refers to as ‘shape-shifting’.
Susan’s research focuses on social, political and legal activism surrounding immigration issues, particularly immigration from El Salvador to the United States. Her most recent book, Exiled Home: Salvadoran Transnational Youth in the Aftermath of Violence (Duke University Press, 2016) examines the experience of individuals born in El Salvador but raised in the United States.
What does settler colonialism have to do with refugee resettlement?
Dr Michelle Munyikwa received her joint MD/PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2021. Here she talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about Pennsylvania’s history of settler colonialism and its connections with refugee settlement in the state, and the parallels between migrant populations and black populations in the US.
As a political and medical anthropologist Michelle is interested in the relationship between political economy, history and practices of care. Her PhD thesis, ‘Up from the Dirt: Racializing Refuge, Rupture and Repair in Philadelphia’, explored the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers and the institutions designed to care for them. She is currently a Resident Physician in internal medicine and paediatrics at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.
Can citizens be displaced?
Professor Nicole Constable is Chair of Anthropology and Research Professor in the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Here she talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about her paper in the special series, which focuses on passport precarity among Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong, and her critique of the migrant-citizen binary.
Nicole is a sociocultural anthropologist whose primary research focus is gendered migration in and from Asia, intimate labour and precarious citizenship and the state. Her latest book, Born Out of Place: Migrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor (University of California Press, 2014) focuses on women migrant workers in Hong Kong who become mothers. She is currently finishing a book about Indonesian migration and passport entanglements.
What do we learn when we ‘de-exceptionalise displacement’?
Dr Heath Cabot, Associate Professor in Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr Georgina Ramsay, Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Delaware, are co-editors of the forthcoming Special Issue of Humanity on ‘De-exceptionalising Displacement’. Here they talk to Professor Bridget Anderson about what gave them the idea for the issue.
Heath is a political and legal anthropologist researching citizenship, ethics and rights in Europe, with a focus on Greece. Her book, On the Doorstep of Europe: Asylum and Citizenship in Greece (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) analyses political asylum on the EU’s most porous external border. Georgina’s research focuses on refugees and forced migration, citizenship and sovereignty, gender and motherhood, violence and humanitarianism, particularly in Central Africa and the African diaspora. Her latest book is Impossible Refuge: The Control and Constraint of Refugee Futures (Routledge, 2017).