Panel 3: Rethinking Community, Rights and Displacement: Theory and Practice

 


This panel was hosted at the Refugee Hosts International Conference on the 25th October 2019, from 16.00 – 17.30

Chair: Prof Lyndsey Stonebridge (Refugee Hosts – University of Birmingham)

Dr Tamirace Fakhoury (Lebanese American University)

Dr Anna Rowlands (Refugee Hosts – Durham University)

Dr Zeynep Kivilcim (Humbodt Universitat zu Berlin)


Rights – as they are mobilised by states, international actors and human rights bodies – frequently become objects of contention. This is especially the case when considering the rights of stateless people and refugees. Following our project’s critical engagement with questions of rights, local community and displacement, this panel conceptualised ‘rights’ in relation to the lives, stories and experiences of those affected by displacement, including on the level of the individual and of ‘the community’. This included reflections on the conceptualisation of ‘the community’ itself in relation to rights.

Overarching questions explored in this panel included: How are rights understood by diverse actors and communities? How might these conceptualisations challenge us to think beyond the existing paradigm of refugee rights(lessness)? What are the relationships between the theory and practice of rights when it comes to thinking through the roles played by members of local communities in response to displacement?

Panelists were invited to prepare a 10-15 minute presentation reflecting on the topic of rethinking community rights, and the provocations captured above, drawing in particular on insights from their own research and disciplinary backgrounds.

As well as exploring the themes relating to this specific panel, panelists were also asked to address one of the key questions posed by the wider Refugee Hosts research project, namely: “how can we understand local community responses to displacement?”

Biographies and links to presentation abstracts can be found below, in addition to a recommending reading and listening list, including blog posts and appearances on the radio by panelists.


Chair: Prof Lyndsey Stonebridge

Lyndsey Stonebridge is Professor of Humanities and Human Rights in the Department of English Literature and Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary literature and history, Human Rights, and Refugee Studies, drawing on the interdisciplinary connections between literature, history, politics, law and social policy.  She is a scholar of the political philosopher, Hannah Arendt and following Arendt, adopts a comparative and question-driven approach to modern cultural history.

Her most recent book Placeless People: Writing, Rights, and Refugees (Oxford University Press, 2018) is a study of how the literature of exile gave way to a more complicated and vexed articulation of statelessness in the mid twentieth century. Placeless People is a follow-on to The Judicial Imagination: Writing after Nuremberg (2011/14), winner of the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay Prize for English Literature, 2016, which also took the work of Arendt as a theoretical starting point in order to think about the relation between law, justice and literature in the aftermath of total war and genocide. Her other books include: The Destructive Element (1998), Reading Melanie Klein (with John Phillips, 1998), The Writing of Anxiety (2007), and British Fiction after Modernism (with Marina MacKay, 2007).  Lyndsey is currently completing a short polemical book for OUP’s Literary Agenda Series, Writing and Righting:  Literature in an Age of  Human Rights (2019).


Dr Tamirace Fakhoury

Dr. Tamirace Fakhoury is an associate professor of political science and international affairs in the Department of Social Sciences at the Lebanese American University (LAU), and the director of the Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution (ISJCR). Dr. Fakhoury has been a visiting assistant professor in the summer sessions at the University of California in Berkeley between 2012 and 2016. She has just completed a research fellowship at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/ Centre for Global Cooperation Research in Germany on the European Union’s role in the polycentric governance of displacement in the Middle East. Her core research and publication areas are: power sharing in divided societies, Euro-Mediterranean migration dynamics and governance, and refugee politics in the Middle East. You can read an abstract from her presentation here.


Dr Anna Rowlands

Dr Anna Rowlands is a Political Theologian with a background in the social sciences as well as theology. She is Lecturer in Contemporary Catholic Theology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Catholic Studies in the Dept of Theology and Religion, Durham University, UK. She has worked in the area of theological ethics and human migration for nearly a decade, working in particular on questions of European policy, immigration detention and narratives of the good. She is the co-author of a comparative piece on Christian and Islamic traditions of thought on migration, and has researched and written on community based responses to migration in a UK setting. She is an editor of T&T Clark Reader in Political Theology (2016) and Anglican Social Theology (2014), and the author of the monograph Catholic Social Teaching: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury: 2017). She works with a number of UK faith-based organisations in the field of migration and development work. She has additional research interests in the work of Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil and Gillian Rose (on whom she completed her PhD research). Her interests lie at the intersection of theological metaphysics and ethics, political theory, the practice of the church and the practice of politics. She also has a long term commitment to working as a community organiser.


Dr Zeynep Kivilcim 

Zeynep Kıvılcım is an Associate Professor of Public International Law. She got her MA and PhD degrees from Université Paris II. Her work deals critically with the human rights law and politics of legality with a gender perspective. She taught at Istanbul University, Gottingen University, Osnabrück University and Humboldt University. She is currently an Einstein Foundation Senior Scholar Humboldt University. Her recent publications in the field of migration include: “Migration Crises in Turkey”, in Oxford Handbook of Migration Crisis, Cecilia Menjivar, Marie Ruiz and Immanuel Ness Eds., Oxford University Press, 2019, p.427-444 and A Gendered Approach to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, (co-editor with Jane Freedman and Nurcan Özgür Baklacıoğlu), Routledge, 2017.  You can read an abstract of Zeynep’s presentation, here. 


Recommended reading list:

Ager, A. (2019) Research impact and policy influence: On bricks and visions. 

al Mehdi, D. (2019) The Tribulations, and Deportations, of Syrian Guests in Turkey

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2018) Employment and pension rights in the context of the localisation of aid agenda.

Harsch, L. (2019) ‘Random acts of kindness’: Reflections on everyday responses to displacement in Hamra.

Lenette, C. (2019) The value of everyday resilience

Muller, A. (2019)  Belonging: a privilege or a right? Conditional inclusion in the Netherlands

Schmidt, K. (2019) Developmentalising humanitarian space:  Questioning the value of development approaches to protracted displacement. 

Steinberg, A. (2019) Sustaining protracted displacements: A brief history of labor policy for Jordan’s refugees

Timberlake, F. (2019) Home-making and home-taking: living spaces for women refugees in Grande Synthe

You can listen to Prof Lyndsey Stonebridge and Dr Anna Rowlands discussing more on these themes, here.