On the 4th of July 2022 the Southern Responses to Displacement project hosted a roundtable discussion on ‘Critical reflections on ‘Decolonising’ Humanitarianism and Refugee-Related Research.’ Speakers at the event drew on a range of historical, geographical and epistemological perspectives to collectively explore the future of humanitarian practice and research, including how to go beyond the fetishization of ‘decolonising’ humanitarianism and refugee-related research. Together, the speakers explored the opportunities and challenges of developing and actively supporting non-hegemonic ways of producing knowledge in relation to displacement, and the extent to which, and with what effects, the ‘decolonisation’ of humanitarianism and refugee-related research is meaningful or tokenistic in nature. Below is a transcript of the event translated into Arabic.
During the event speakers referenced multiple texts both in their contributions and in the chat box. You can access these texts below:
Daley, P. (2015) “Researching sexual violence in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: methodologies, ethics and the production of knowledge in an African warscape” in Coles, A. Grey, L. and Momsen, J. (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Development, Routledge.
Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2020) ‘Recentering the South in Studies of Migration,”Introduction to the Special Issue, Migration and Society, 3(1): 1-18.
Marchais, G. et al., (2020) ‘The data is gold, and we are the gold-diggers’: whiteness, race and contemporary academic research in eastern DRC’ in Critical African Studies, 12:3, 372-394, DOI: 10.1080/21681392.2020.1724806
Mbembe, A. (2019) Necropolitics, Duke University Press.
Moulin, Carolina (2012) “Ungrateful subjects? Refugee protests and the logic of gratitude,” in Nyers, P, et al. (eds.) Citizenship, migrant activism and the politics of movement. Routledge. pp. 66–84
Murrey, A. and Jackson, N. (2019) ‘A Decolonial Critique of the Racialized “Localwashing” of Extraction in Central Africa’, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 110:3, 917-940.
Qasmiyeh, Y.M. (2021) ‘Writing the Camp’, Broken Sleep Books.
Qasmiyeh, Y.M. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2019) ‘The Third Voice and Third Eye in our Photo-Poetic Reflections,’ Refugee Hosts.
Vera Espinoza, M. et al. (2021) ‘Towards a typology of social protection for migrants and refugees in Latin America during the COVID-19 pandemic,’ Comparative Migration Studies, 9 (52).
Vera Espinoza, M. (2019) ‘Expectations and the politics of resettlement. Colombian and Palestinian refugees in Chile and Brazil.’ Available from Refugee Hosts
Warnock, R., Taylor, F. M. & Horton, A. 2022. ‘Should we pay research participants? Feminist political economy for ethical practices in precarious times.’ Area. 54 (2): 195-202. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12790
Watch Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Juliano Fiori and Patricia Daley discuss ‘Decolonisation in Forced Migration and Humanitarian Response’ here.
** To access a recording and transcript of the event in English click here. **
Prof. Patricia Daley – Prof. Daley is Professor of the Human Geography of Africa and Vice-Principal and The Helen Morag Fellow in Geography at Jesus College, Oxford. Prof. Daley’s main research interests are the political economy of population migration and settlement (forced migration, identity politics and citizenship); the intersection of space, gender, militarism, sexual violence and peace (feminist geo-politics); racial hierarchies and violence (geographies of racialization and coloniality using Critical Race Theory and decolonizing methodologies); the relationship between conservation, resource extraction, and rural livelihoods (political ecology). She has authored, edited and contributed to numerous publications, including her 2018 co-edited book, The Routledge Handbook of South-South Relations.
Yousif M. Qasmiyeh – Yousif is a doctoral researcher at the University of Oxford whose research examines the archive, time and containment in refugee literature in Arabic and English. He is a poet and translator who was born and educated in Baddawi refugee camp (Lebanon). He was Writer-in-Residence for the AHRC-ESRC funded Refugee Hosts research project; is the ‘Creative Encounters’ editor for the Migration and Society journal; and Joint Lead of the Imagining Futures Baddawi Camp Lab funded by the AHRC-GCRF. His poetry collection, Writing the Camp (Broken Sleep Books 2021) was The Poetry Book Society’s Recommendation for Spring 2021, was selected as one of the “best poetry books of 2021” by the Daily Telegraph, was Highly Commended by the 2022 Forward Prizes, and was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s 2022 Ondaatje Prize.
Dr Marcia Vera-Espinoza is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD) at Queen Margaret University, in Edinburgh. Marcia’s work focuses on the study of inclusion of migrant and refugee populations and migration governance in Latin America. At the IGHD, Marcia leads the Psychosocial Wellbeing, Integration and Protection Cluster. Marcia is a co-founding member of the research group Comparative Analysis in International Migration and Displacement in the Americas (CAMINAR). She is also PI of the EU-AMIF project ‘New Scots Integration: A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion’. She has recently published in Comparative Migration Studies, Frontiers in Human Dynamics, Migration and Society, Geopolitics, Global Policy, and Development Policy Review, among others. Her co-edited books include ‘The Dynamics of Regional Migration Governance’ (Edward Elgar, 2019) and ‘Latin America and Refugee Protection: regimes, logics and challenges’ (Berghahn Books, 2021).
Jessica Oddy is the Director of Equity-Based EiE Consulting, supporting organisations, institutions and academia to design and deliver equity-centred programmes, policies and research rooted in social-justice. A former secondary school teacher, she has worked for various organisations, including NORCAP, Save the Children, Lutheran World Federation and War Child UK. She is a PhD candidate at the University of East London’s Centre for Migration, Refugee and Belonging, where she teaches the OLIve higher education access course for refugees and asylum seekers. Her research focuses on diverse young people’s educational experiences in emergencies and how colonial legacies influence the types of programmes available for youth in displacement situations.
Marwan Adinsa has a decade of experience teaching primary and secondary education in urban areas and refugee camps in Kenya and South Sudan. He is passionate about teachers in humanitarian contexts and themes around identity and belonging in forced migration. As well as teaching and lecturing in Juba, Marwan is a post-graduate student at the University of Juba, where he is pursuing an MA in Research and Public Policy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Management and a diploma in Leadership and Management. Originally from the Nuba mountains, Marwan speaks English, Kiswahili, Arabic and Achurun.
Gisela P. Zapata is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Demography and researcher at the Centre for Regional Development and Planning (CEDEPLAR) of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil. She holds a Masters’ Degree in Economics from North Carolina State University (USA) and a PhD in Human Geography from Newcastle University (UK). She is a fellow of the Brazilian Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and member of the Research Group Comparative Analysis on International Migration and Displacement in the Americas [CAMINAR]. Her research focuses on international migration and displacement, migration policies, remittances, and the migration-development nexus in Latin America.
The roundtable was convened and chaired by:
Prof. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh – Prof Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is Professor in Migration and Refugee Studies at University College London; Principal Investigator of the ERC-funded Southern Responses to Displacement Project; and Joint-Lead of the Baddawi Camp Lab of the AHRC funded Network Plus project, Imagining Futures through [Un]Archived Pasts. She is also Co-Editor of the Migration and Society journal and was PI of the AHRC-ESRC project ‘Local Community Experiences of and Responses to Displacement from Syria‘ (aka Refugee Hosts). Her recent publications include The Routledge Handbook of South-South Relations; Refuge in a Moving World: Tracing refugee and migrant journeys across disciplines; and ‘Recentering the South in Studies of Migration.’
This event was supported by the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS). More information about the IAS can be found at www.ucl.ac.uk/institute-of-advanced-studies
Featured image: A view of Tripoli, N. Lebanon (c) E. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, 2016