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SE Irregular Migration and the Politics of Urban Space

SE Irregular Migration and the Politics of Urban Space

Avi Sharma

Modul 3: Öffentlicher Raum und Stadtkultur

Mo 10-12 Uhr • HBS 103 • Beginn: 21.10.2019

This seminar course looks at the administration of Displaced Persons (DPs) from the 19th century to the present.  Population Displacement is a topic of pressing importance, impacting lives, shaping politics, transforming cityscapes across the globe.  Despite cutting across a variety of disciplines, though, population displacement – its causes and consequences – tends to be viewed in relative isolation.  Residents of the Shatila camp in Lebanon, for example, are never compared to Haitians who were displaced by the 2010 earthquake, despite the fact that many of the same organizations, infrastructure, and planning instruments are critical in the response to each displacement event.  The Lebanese and Haitian cases may share some characteristics, but in other ways, Shatila (a refugee camp) is more like Dharavi (one of the largest informal settlement in the world) in Mumbai, where residents are displaced neither by political persecution, war, or natural disaster.  The Camp (Shatila) and the Slum (Dharavi) both, for example, have a density well above 200,000 persons per square kilometer.   How do we account for the similarities and differences across cases?  How should we understand a refugee camp that in most ways is more like a city than a temporary settlement?

This seminar suggests that we look at Population Displacement in a global comparative context, situating the topic in the historical matrix of capitalism, imperialism, the human sciences, and international knowledge networks.

This course is intended to be a shared learning experience.  The seminar leader has not decided whether the arguments described above are correct or not.  This means that student participation is critical to the success of the course.  Students are welcome to disagree on any or all points, and discussion between seminar members will actively fostered. 

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