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Master of Arts in Migration and Displacement: Applications are now open

The African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at the University of the Witwatersrand invites graduate students to apply to undertake an MA in Migration and Displacement with us. ACMS enrolls a maximum of 25 MA students each year from various academic backgrounds and countries. 

Based in the School of Social Sciences, migration and displacement is an interdisciplinary field encompassing a wide range of disciplines including economics, public health, political science, sociology, urban planning, and development studies. With migration and displacement being such important and hotly-debated topics, the course has a wide-ranging academic and practical scope. The course is taught by ACMS staff who are widely published and have conducted innovative research projects.

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The migration management of refugees in contemporary South Africa: the erosion of the refugee regime?

15 August 2017

As part of the Lunchtime Seminar Series, the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar titled The migration management of refugees in contemporary South Africa: the erosion of the refugee regime? presented by Nicholas Maple (Refugee Law Initiative (RLI), Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London).  This presentation will provide a multi-scalar perspective on contemporary South African refugee policy and practice. South Africa has traditionally been held up by UNHCR as a model of how to receive refugees on the African continent. On paper, this is still true, with robust national refugee legislation and a national constitution which together guarantee international and regional obligations towards refugees. Yet, refugee policy and practice in South Africa over recent years has been deviating significantly from the law. Drawing on the new South African Green and White Papers on International Migration as a focal point for discussion, this presentation will suggest via a form of regime shifting, the treatment of refugees in South Africa is rapidly moving from policy and practice founded on the global refugee regime to a new migration management approach whereby refugees are becoming seen solely as economic migrants.

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Our MA students presented their draft research proposals

On 8 June 2017 fifteen of our MA in Migration and Displacement students gave PowerPoint presentations on their draft research proposals and received comments and questions from ACMS staff and their fellow students. This was one of the last steps before they submit their research proposals.

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Mapping xenophobic violence in South Africa: Opportunities and pitfalls of hot-spot and causal analysis in combatting xenophobic violence

20 June 2017

As part of the Lunchtime Seminar Series, the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar titled Mapping xenophobic violence in South Africa: Opportunities and pitfalls of hot-spot and causal analysis in combatting xenophobic violence presented by Dr Alexandra Hiropoulos (African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand).  International migrants in South Africa have been remarkably vulnerable to socio-economic exclusion, corruption and violence since 1994 while public discourse continues to focus on the supposed negative impacts of migration. In the first half of 2017 alone, hundreds of non-nationals have been attacked, displaced and had their shops looted. While no official information on xenophobic violence is available by the South African Police Service or Statistics South Africa, the African Centre for Migration & Society has been tracking xenophobic threats and violence across the country through its platform, Xenowatch. Drawing from spatial data on 500 incidents of xenophobic violence between 1994 and 2017 as well Census 2011 and other data, this presentation will highlight maps of hotspot locations for xenophobic violence and discuss possible causal factors.  

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MIGRATION 2017: Migration Lives and Livelihoods in South Africa

MIGRATION 2017 is a three-week course held in partnership between the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at Wits University, South Africa and Carleton University, Canada

This course explored the various social, economic and political dynamics associated with migration in South Africa. As international debates, events and politics increasingly focus on issues surrounding immigration in Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East, this course examined how they have played out and have mattered in various and contentious ways in South Africa; a key political and economic state in Africa, yet one that has had a strong tradition of seeing itself as an exception to the rest of the continent. From its colonial founding in the seventeenth century to the massive scale of labour migration from within southern Africa to the expanding South African mining and agricultural industries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from the governing logics of its apartheid period (1948-1994) based on racialized and ethnicized population control to increased immigration from across Africa, xenophobic violence, and visceral debates around citizenship, jobs, and international relations in the post-apartheid period, migration has been a central component to the cultural politics of the economies, institutions, and politics of South Africa. This course explored some of these histories and their traces and contours in the lives, economic livelihoods and social geographies of contemporary South Africa, including the impact of African migration on national identity formation and the politics of belonging within South Africa, particularly in terms of South Africa as an African nation.

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