Workshop @ University of Oxford
School of Geography and the Environment
Friday, 9th November 2018

1. Poem: Yousif M. Qasmiyeh


Refugees are dialectical beings.

Only refugees can forever write the archive.

2. Keynote Address: Behrouz Boochani

WhatsApp Video

Manus Island & Prison Camps: Extraterritorial spaces of Australia.

Pacific Solution

Private companies that run prisons

Broken borders. Remaining borders. Extended borders.

Political hostages

Limited access to the court system of Australia.

Identified by a number (People have forgotten their names).

Ye was right: New Slaves

Torture to send a message: don’t come here (sign documents and be flown back; most don’t want to go for various reasons).

Christmas Island

Mental torture and difference between guilty and innocent prisoner.

Real prison (convicted of illegal entry into a country) is better than this system.


– What types of mobilisation?

  • A movie, play, video installations, 150 articles in a book (in literary language and journalism language).
  • Done his work in a way that researchers can publish/do research.
  • Understand this camp and system in a historical and philosophical way.
  • Skype credit run out.

– Four Prime Ministers, but nothing happens (limbo); National security and national interests.

– Is UNHCR present? (UNHCR, Red Cross, Amnesty Intl. visit).

– Has criticised all organisations. An industry/Business.

– Systematic censorship.

– Prison conditions for 4 and 1/2 years.

– Small island (Concept: remote, different).

– Master in Political Geography (Read the book and watch the movie).

3. Panel 1: Decolonising Refugee Research

Patricia Daley (Oxford)

– Pan-African Feminist Womanist.

– What are the questions we ask?

– Purity and Exile.

– Master narrative.

– The absence of race in research on refugees (Nicolas Gichenova; race). How racialisation travels and the way it permeates the research that has been done.

– Using terms developed by politicians in an uncritical fashion. Looking at the history of terminologies, and how they emerge. Archival work around concepts.

– Refugee status: the importance of status, and how it is interpreted at the different levels of the state.

– Chakrabara.

– Guerilla Intellectual (being in the university and critiquing it).

– Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of intellect and theory.

– Everyday forms of conviviality that exist outside the formal refugee industry.

– OAU liberation committee (Apartheid, anti-colonial). This has been pushed aside in favour of more Northern based initiatives such as UNHCR.

Ramona Sanyal (LSE)

– Is Decolonisation the New Black (diluting the radical agendas of decolonising).

– Paula Bannergie (B. S. Chimney)

– Consumer-driven activism (celebrities, the west is a superior centre of knowledge).

– White researchers doing research in non-white settings seems normal, whereas non-white researchers doing research in countries other than their own raised eyebrows.

– My identity is fluid.

– class, gender, and cast privilege vs. white privilege.

– How are we complicit in the colonisation of research.

– Challenge race privilege.

– Positionality needs to go beyond short section in the introduction.

– More of an effort to embrace the contexts and languages in which we work.

– Fictional authors do a good job of weaving positionality into the narrative.

Hashem Abushama (Oxford)

– A Palestinian refugee doing research should probably do an autoethnography. Or not…

– Inclusive exclusion. What?!

– Theory of the flesh (Reclaim the history, politics, etc). The flesh offers an analytical framework.

– State-centered and policy-centred frameworks.

– Palestinians building settlements (thereby perpetuating the status quo).

– The genre of the human.

4. Panel 2: Critical Methodologies in Refugee Research.

Yolanda Weima

– Industrial location theory.

– capitalism

– space is a product of interrelations.

– the global is present.

– white innocence in the black Mediterranean:…

– space is always space-time, it cannot exist without time.

– Julius Nyerere: … critical practice in relation to refugees.

Hanno Brankamp

– Three fields of demarcation: language, presence and time.

– Ethnographic research (8:30).

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

– Routledge Handbook of South-South Relations by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Patricia Daley

– Partners: PEN International, English-Pen

– Project: Stories in Transit, Save The Children Humanitarian Affairs Team.

– encounters between Palestinian refugees and those displaced from Syria.

– participant observation, 500 interviews.

– creative writing ‘as’ research, ‘data collection’ but also as much more, as a way of analysing throughout our journeys. Collaborative writing across the team.

– ‘The Camp is Time’, ‘Writing the Camp’, by Yousif M Qasmiyeh.

– creative methods as resistance.

– permanent impermanence

– Refugee Imaginaries, book. Rhizoanalysis of refugee camp situations.

5. Panel 3: Humanising Refugee Research in a Turbulent World

Jonathan Darling (Durham University).

– The growth of journalistic accounts of refugees in recent years (The New Odyssey, light in the distance).

– John Snow on The New Odyssey.

– “Humanise” definition: Cambridge and Oxford definition.

– G4S housing refugees.

– The banality of everyday life in refugee research.

– Daniel Trilling

Estella Capri (University College London)

– No avenue to humanisation without seeing research as transformational.

– interdisciplinarity.

– emotional ethnography of institutions (elaborating on a feeling perspective)!

Oliver Bakewell (University of Manchester)

– Sesame Credit Scoring Scheme.

– The politicisation of bureaucracies.

– even when we challenge policy categories, we might come back to them to make our analysis legible to others.

– humanised set of new categories.

– acknowledge the dehumanising inherent in our work.

– Dehumanise differently (elaborate).

– humanising someone is making them legible to westerners.

– anti-blackness scholars (do we want to be human in the western sense?)

– ‘the rush to Europe young Africa on the way to the old continent’