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Interdisciplinary Approaches to Refugee and Migration Studies

Lessons from Collaborative Research on Sanctuary in the Changing Times of Trump

Sara Vannini, Ricardo Gomez, Megan Carney and Katharyne Mitchell

We reflect on the experience of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between scholars in the fields of geography, anthropology, communication, and information studies, and suggest paths for future research on sanctuary and migration studies that are based on interdisciplinary approaches. After situating sanctuary in a wider theoretical, historical, and global context, we discuss the origins and contemporary expressions of sanctuary both within and beyond faith-based organizations. We include the role of collective action, personal stories, and artistic expressions as part of the new sanctuary movement, as well as the social and political forms of outrage that lead to rekindling protest and protection of undocumented immigrants, refugees, and other minorities and vulnerable populations. We conclude with a discussion on the urgency for interdisciplinary explorations of these kinds of new, contemporary manifestations of sanctuary, and suggest paths for further research to deepen the academic dialogue on the topic.

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'Your Heart Is Not Warm Unless You Steal!'

Constructions of Theft and Stealing

Ada I. Engebrigtsen

A proverb common in Romania, generally referring to gypsies, claims that 'your heart is not warm unless you steel'. During the author's fieldwork in a village in Transylvania it was, obvious, however, that the moral judgement on theft and stealing varies greatly according to context. The article discusses the social construction of theft in different empirical contexts and historical periods from wartime looting in India to theft of state property in Romania and how the definition and judgement in each case are embedded in social relations and social structures. The article's main objective is to unmask social relations of power and domination that are often hidden behind definitions and judgements concerning the acquisition of the property of others. Thus theft cannot be understood as either legal or moral; instead, it ties together the moral and the legal, the collective and the individual, objects and persons in different ways in different contexts.

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Dennis A. Gilbert

My article focuses on Le Théâtre existentialiste (Existentialist Theater) by Simone de Beauvoir, recently translated and published in the volume of the Beauvoir Series on her literary writings. The first part introduces the original sound recording of this text and the circumstances behind its possible production in New York City in 1947 and my discovery of it at Wellesley College in 1996. The second part analyzes the divisions of Beauvoir's remarks as she presents Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and their principal plays from the period of the Occupation: The Flies, No Exit, and Caligula. The third part then evaluates certain of Beauvoir's key concepts in terms of how they were able to define adequately the substance of existentialist theater for a postwar American audience and whether they remain valid for a more contemporary theatrical public some six decades later.

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Kenneth Bo Nielsen

The large-scale transfer of land from rural communities to private corporations has become a defining feature of India’s development trajectory. These land transfers have given rise to a multitude of new “land wars” as dispossessed groups have struggled to retain their land. Yet while much has been written about the political economy of development that underpins this new form of dispossession, the ways in which those threatened with dispossession have sought to mobilize have to a lesser extent been subject to close ethnographic scrutiny. This article argues that an “everyday politics” perspective can enhance our understanding of India’s new land wars, using a case from Singur as the starting point. The agenda is twofold. I show how everyday life domains and sociopolitical relations pertaining to caste, class, gender, and party political loyalty were crucial to the making of the Singur movement and its politics. Second, by analyzing the movement in processual terms, I show how struggles over land can be home to a multitude of political meanings and aspirations as participants seek to use new political forums to resculpt everyday sociopolitical relations.

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Valentina Mitkova

Albena Vacheva, V periferiata na kanona. Bulgarskite pisatelki prez purvata polovina na 20 vek (In the periphery of the canon. Bulgarian women writers in the first half of the twentieth century), Sofia: Prosveta, 2014, 372 pp., 17.00 BGN (pb), ISBN 978-9-54012-831-3.

Milena Kirova, ed., Neslucheniat kanon: Bulgarski pisatelki ot 1944 godina do nashi dni (The canon that did not happen: Bulgarian writers from 1944 to the present day), Sofia: Altera, 2014, 512 pp., 18.00 BGN (pb), ISBN 978-9-54975-792-7.

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From Risk to Resistance

Girls and Technologies of Nonviolence

Laurel Hart

From Mumbai to New York, and from Cape Town to Moscow, cell phones and other devices are becoming ubiquitous in people’s everyday lives alongside the use of various social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Despite their pervasiveness, the application of these technologies to addressing pressing global concerns such as violence toward girls and women (in universities, on the streets, in schools, and so on) is vastly under realized. Indeed, much of the work to date on mobile and social media in relation to such violence has been on its threats and harmful effects, particularly in the context of cyberbullying and other forms of online harassment (Hart and Mitchell 2015). But what are the possibilities for turning these technologies into technologies of nonviolence?

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The Teaches of Peaches

Performance, Hybridity and Resistance

Marnina Gonick

ARTIST EXPOSÉ Peaches (Merrill Nisker)

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Pierre Lascoumes

Unlike Anglo-Saxon countries, France, along with other Mediterranean democracies (Italy, Spain)1 has waited until the end of the twentieth century to publicly identify the various forms “public misconduct” can take2 and to begin to address them politically. Two convictions mark a breach in the national tradition of impunity for public corruption: that of the treasurer of the Socialist Party, deputy and former minister Henri Emmanuelli, in March 1996 for concealment of trading on his influence (earning him an18-month suspended jail sentence and, more notably, two years of attainder and political ineligibility); and that of the mayor of Grenoble, RPR deputy and minister Alain Carignon, in July 1996 for corruption (earning him four years imprisonment).

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"Shaped Like an Anchor"

Trans Sailors and Cultures of Resistance

Marty Fink

Looking to queer and trans cultural texts from DIY zines to classic queer literature to contemporary experimental cinema, this article considers how sailors represent boyhood as a trangressive embodiment that reworks masculinities and processes of representation. By locating the youthful transmasculine body as a representational norm, queer/trans films like Maggots and Men (2009) create spaces through which sailors reshape meanings assigned to maleness, boys, and men. A linked analysis of Micah Bazant’s self-published Timtum (1999) and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room (1956) raises further questions about the signs and codes of sailors and postadolescent boyhood in opening up new embodiments for gender non-conforming adults. Investigating how trans sailors become icons of youthful nostalgia and queer masculinities, this paper also questions correlations between sailors and Whiteness, boyhood, colonialism, migration and race.

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Rory J. Conces

One of the problems that has dominated Western political thought for the past four hundred years is the tension within the body politic between the ‘will of the collective’, as it is expressed by those vested with authority and power, and the ‘will of the individual’. Among political theorists who have examined this problem, Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704) viewed this potentially ruinous tension in radically different ways. In his famous work Leviathan (1651), Hobbes presents the problem of how we are to socially conduct ourselves as a society, an apparent dilemma whose horns are none other than anarchy and servile absolutism. Either we submit to the constraints imposed upon us by government, or we accept the dire consequences of his infamous state of nature. Since he was well acquainted with the strife of war-torn seventeenth-century Europe (including the Thirty Years War [1618-48] in Central Europe, the Scottish Revolt [1638-40], and the First Civil War [1642-46] as well as the Second Civil War [1648] in England), the choice was an easy one for Hobbes. He leaves no doubt that the dissolution of government is the single worst misfortune that could beset man, resulting in an anarchic condition in which ‘the life of man, [is] solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short’.1 It is therefore to man’s advantage to leave this state by accepting absolute sovereignty as the only rational alternative.