Powerful Migrations: Identity/Security/Fluidity

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April 27 & 28, 2017
University of California, Riverside
CHASS INTS 1113 & Culver Center of the Arts

Over the past years, new forms of terrorism, war, and the clash of opposed cultural and religious value-systems have caused unprecedented mass migrations in the modern world. They have, in turn, brought about a fundamental level of insecurity among Western Cultures, a far-reaching irritation as to how to react properly to the streams of migrants risking their lives on dangerous passages – across land, sea and air borders – to seek refuge in the more prosperous and politically stable countries of the Western World. Those recent events demand a closer look into the history and nature of migration, its manifold causes, forms, and effects.

Joint interdisciplinary efforts in thinking about migration as a cultural, political, and social phenomenon have never been more urgent than they are now. Only if we understand the literal migrations of people and objects across existing borders in both a larger cultural and a historical perspective, will we be able to broaden our understanding and perhaps re-evaluate the current political discussions on national security and the resulting societal discourses on inclusion vs. exclusion. This applies in particular for the overdue disentanglement of the categories of migration and terrorism, so easily juxtaposed with issues of (inter)-national stability and security.

The Powerful Migrations conference is rooted in the realization that the obvious monopolization and linking of debates around migration and security in political and military discourse need be set on a broader intellectual footing – an endeavor that by necessity must be interdisciplinary. Within our framework, the concept of ‘fluidity’ will serve as a tentative paradigm to re-examining questions of migration, identity and security both in history and in recent times of globalization.


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April 27—UC Riverside, CHASS Interdisciplinary Building, Room 1113
* Complimentary parking permits for non-UCR guests available at the Parking Lot #1 kiosk (near the corner of University Ave and W. Campus Dr.)

8:30 AM – 5:00 PM: Main Conference

6:00 PM: Evening Keynote Lecture: Jack Dangermond, CEO of ESRI
Creating Our Future: Sustainable Solutions for Our World

Reception to follow

April 28—Culver Center of the Arts, 3834 Main Street, Riverside, CA — Hammond Dance Studio (upstairs)
* Parking in downtown Riverside is available for purchase at the Mission Square Garage across from the Culver Center on Main & 9th.

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Main Conference

4:30 PM: Film Screening & Talk
Louis Massiah, Director of Scribe Video Center – Place and Displacement
Screening of three documentaries from Scribe Video Center’s “Precious Places Community History” Project (10 minutes each) and The Bombing of Osage Avenue (60 minutes)


Conference keynote
Nina Glick Schiller (Director, Cosmopolitan Cultures Institute, University of Manchester, UK)
Estranged Belongings, Dispossessed Futures, and Aspirations for Social Justice

Panel 1—Identity: Dreams and Formations

Panel keynote: Min Zhou (Sociology, UCLA)
Hyper-Selectivity and the Remaking of Culture: Understanding Asian American Achievement

Leisy Abrego (Chicano/a Studies, UCLA)
Liberation, Not Integration: Immigrants Making Claims and Making Home in Los Angeles

Worku Nida (Anthropology, UCR)
Powerful Migrations in Africa: Entrepreneurs and Identity Formation in Ethiopia

Panel 2—Fluidity: Places and Spaces

Panel keynote: Avinoam Shalem (History of Art and Archaeology, Columbia University NYC
The Commoditization of Nature: Palestinian Landscape Zionized

Erith Jaffe-Berg (Theatre, Film, and Digital Production, UCR)
Cross-Cultural Currents in Early Modern Italian Theatre

Louis Massiah (Director, Scribe Video Center, Philadelphia)
Great Migration: A City Transformed (1916-1929)

Evening keynote
Jack Dangermond, CEO of ESRI
Creating our Future: Sustainable Solutions for Our World

Panel 3—Security: Fears and Expectations

Panel keynote: Miroslava Chavez-Garcia (History, UCSB)
‘A Toda Madre (ATM)’: Migrant Dreams and Nightmares in El Norte

Johannes Endres (Comparative Literature/Art History, UCR)
Rethinking Security

Saloni Mathur (Art History, UCLA)
Islamophobia and the Security State: Lessons from the Visual Arts

Unveiling of Stereo Viewers on Main Street
Susan Laxton (Art History, UCR)

Panel 4—Geopolitics: Past and Present

Panel keynote: Michael Gomez (History, NYU)
A Different Kind of Migration: The African’s Journey into Liminality

Jonathan Eacott (History, UCR)
Elephant Sized Murders: Indian Elephants in British and Early American Political Culture

Tom Wong (Political Science, UCSD)
U.S. Immigration Policy under Trump


UCR Center for Ideas and Society
UCR International Affairs
CHASS Dean’s Office
UCR Artsblock
World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California

Conference Organizers

Jeanette Kohl (Associate Professor and Chair, Art History, UC Riverside)
Kelechi Kalu (Vice Provost of International Affairs, UC Riverside)

Download flyer

Flyer by Sonja Sekely-Rowland (Curator, Visual Resources Collection, UC Riverside)

The conference and all associated events are free and open to the public.
For questions or more information, email us at cisevents@ucr.edu or call 951-827-1556.