Gepubliceerd op 15-01-2020

Call for papers: Transnational Refugee Practices and Discourses: Berlin, Istanbul, and the Urban Assemblages in Between

Type: Seminar
Date: January 27, 2020
Location: District Of Columbia, United States
Subject Fields: Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, Urban History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies

Call for Papers:

Seminar: Transnational Refugee Practices and Discourses: Berlin, Istanbul, and the Urban Assemblages in Between

October 1–4, 2020

German Studies Association Meetings, Washington, DC

This interdisciplinary seminar brings together scholar from a wide variety of fields including but not limited to anthropology, cultural studies, history, legal studies, literature studies, political science, and sociology. It focuses on how refugees in Berlin and Istanbul, as well as those on migration routes linking the two cities, impact and are impacted by political debates within Europe and between Europe and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region in relation to South–North migration. Special attention is paid to how refugees challenge and re-create the conditions of urban spaces they dwell in through their practices and discourses.

We seek presentations from scholars whose work aligns with one or more of the following topics:

1) Urban Refugees and Agency: How do refugees influence the urban settings they dwell in? How does the interaction between refugees and the city influence the category refugee itself? What alternate, new, or creolized identities emerge from refugees’ involvement in their new urban setting? What insights do we gain from investigating these questions within the context of Berlin and/or Istanbul, which have, in the last few years, become major refugee-hosting centers in the Middle East and Europe, respectively? How have refugees, through their agency influenced the social, economic, and political ties that have linked Berlin and Istanbul for the last three centuries?

2) Urban Refugees and Structure: Where are refugees spatially located in Berlin, Istanbul, and in the other cities on the Istanbul–Berlin route? How do these urban settings influence refugee access to social, economic, and political resources? How has refugees’ emotional, physical, and social wellbeing been affected by different urban constellations over time? How do neoliberal urban policies affect the living conditions of refugees?

3) Urban Refugees and Security: In the post 9/11 world, refugees are increasingly linked to the political discourse on security. Taking into account Berlin and Istanbul as key cities on the refugee route linking the Middle East and Europe, how has refugee movement between the two cities influenced broader political debates about immigration, borders, and security? What kinds of new or alternate discourses on immigration, borders, and security have been produced through refugee movement between the two cities and, especially, the encounter between refugees and other urban dwellers (for example, citizens, tourists, and other migrants)? How has this movement influenced the creation of new borders and the reinforcement of old ones, but also the subversion or dismantling of borders? What alternate geographies does such movement (or lack thereof) bring to light?

The ultimate goal of this seminar is an edited volume on refugees and urban spaces. Participants who are interested will have the opportunity to revise their presentations as a book chapter for the edited volume.

If you are interested in participating, please apply directly through the German Studies Association Website to be part of the seminar Transnational Refugee Practices and Discourses: Berlin, Istanbul, and the Urban Assemblages in Between.

Below is the link to submit your abstract (300 words) and short CV:


The deadline for submitting your abstract is January 27.

Please note that you have to be a member of the GSA in order to apply.

Also, please note that, if accepted into the seminar, you will not be able to present an additional paper at the GSA conference but you may comment, moderate, or organize and/or participate in a round table.

Contact Info:


Baris Ülker

Postdoctoral Fellow

Center for Metropolitan Studies

Technical University Berlin


Nell Gabiam

Associate Professor

Iowa State University


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