Roundtable & Public Discussion: Rethinking Knowledge Politics in Migration Research, Teaching & Practice

The African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at the University of the Witwatersrand and Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna in partnership with the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and the Anti- Racism Working Group of the IMISCOE International Migration Research Network cordially invite you to a roundtable and public discussion on Rethinking Migration Research, Teaching and Practice.

An ongoing gap in genuine perspectives that are the outcome of robust engagement of scholars and practitioners across the Global North and the Global South runs the risk of reducing decolonisation to a normative and at times arbitrary framework, silencing certain perspectives and/or side-lining existing work. What does decolonisation have to offer to migration researchers and practitioners that differs or is inimitable from pre-existing notions of reflexivity in the field, and what, if any, are its potential pitfalls?

Centred on three themes (rethinking the migration research agenda and practice; reflecting on fieldworks and methods; changing the way we teach), this roundtable and public discussion aims to engage with the question if decolonisation as an analytical and reflexive tool can provide new or critical knowledge about more productive, inclusive and transformative approaches, language and categories of doing migration research, teaching as well as practice.

We will dedicate each theme to one discussion round by short inputs from our three excellent roundtable speakers, before opening the floor to the audience.

Our Roundtable Speakers are E. Tendayi Achiume, Ipek Demir and Aurora Vergara Figueroa.

Tendayi Achiume is the inaugural Alicia Miñana Professor in Law at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. She is also a Research Associate with the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand. The current focus of her work is the global governance of racism and xenophobia; and the legal and ethical implications of colonialism for contemporary international migration. More generally, her research and teaching interests lie in international human rights law, international refugee law, and international migration. Professor Achiume is also the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. Professor Achiume earned her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Yale Law School. She also earned a Graduate Certificate in Development Studies from Yale.

Ipek Demir is an Associate Professor and the Director of Centre for Racism and Ethnicity, University of Leeds, UK. Her research sits at the intersections of the fields of diaspora studies, ethno-politics, race and identity, Global South, indigeneity, epistemology and social and critical thought. In her recent work she develops a decolonial perspective to diaspora and discusses how diasporas are the primary agents of decolonization of the Global North. Her forthcoming (January 2022) book with MUP is entitled Diaspora as Translation and Decolonisation.

Aurora Vergara Figueroa is the director of the Afrodiasporic Studies Center (Centro de Estudios Afrodiaspóricos) at Icesi University. Her main research interest is the sociological study of Afrocolombians deracinated from the Colombian Pacific coast and the long durée of land dispossession. Professor Vergara Figueroa also develops research on the Afrodiasporic feminist movement in Colombia. She is the recipient of the 2014 LASA/Oxfam America Martin Diskin Dissertation Award. Vergara Figueroa holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Date: Fri, December 3, 2021

Time: 7:00 PM – 7:45 PM SAST / 6:00 PM – 6:45 PM CET / 12:00 PM – 12:45 PM EST

Location: Online