CALL FOR ROUNDTABLE PARTICIPANTS: Migration, Media, and the Politics of Representation

AAA Roundtable Organizer:

Sevda Arslan, PhD student, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: APRIL 2ND, 2017 (email directly to

Despite migration’s ubiquity, the process of determining who counts as a migrant, refugee, or citizens is fraught with ambiguity. Often, all migrants are placed under one umbrella without making much distinction about their unique status in the countries they live, work and dream to become productive members of. Moreover, on-going civil wars and environmental issues continue to force many to leave harsh and dangerous living conditions behind. People live their home countries in the hope of making new homes elsewhere with the prospects of becoming vibrant members of their new community. Despite expansive policies on human rights and the protection of life, US and European state policy continues to fail to integrate new and old migrants through asylum, citizenship, or acceptance as equal members of the society.

This roundtable explores these distinctions by showing why and how anthropology matters in the lives of migrant communities in North America and Europe. Thus, we ask the question: How can anthropologists generate more nuanced representations to better understand migrants’ struggles, risks, and opportunities?

The recent US Election resulted in a drastic change in the representation of immigrants, such as the Muslim ban or the rhetoric to build a wall to prevent migration from Mexico. Similarly, 2017 is the election year for some European countries where right-wing politicians along with their ideas and misrepresentations of migrants have been gained much popularity. Is the impact of the rise of right-wing populism on immigrants different or similar in the United States and in Europe? How can policy makers learn from each other concerning the successes and failures of immigration policy in their respective countries?

This roundtable focuses discussions on right wing politics and how migration and migrants are portrayed in the media and are represented in ethnographic work. Anthropologists work and live with refugees and migrant communities with the aim to increase our knowledge on migration issues: included but not limited to how migrants build their communities and make a new home despite the rise of right wing populism and the negativity portrayed about them in the main stream media.

We are looking for participants with expertise in migration issues related to right-wing populism, nationalism, media, ethnography, and migration policies. Please send a brief description of your background in these migration topics and how your research complements this roundtable discussion by April 2nd, 11:59pm eastern time. If you have any questions, please email Sevda Arslan, in advance of the deadline.