Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Conference 2015: Human Migration and the Environment: Futures, Politics, Invention

Date: 28th June - 1st July, 2015
Venue:Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom

Concept Note

Human migration and the environment are two of the most pressing issues of our times. Migration is a defining attribute of the human condition, and yet all across the world negative attitudes towards migration are intensifying. Meanwhile, our natural environment is undergoing such profound transformation that the future habitability of Earth is regularly called into question. But what is stake when these two phenomena – human migration and environmental catastrophe – are articulated as a singular relation? In popular media, this relation is often said to be one of mass migration which culminates in religious or ethnic violence, whereas contemporary liberalism poses it as a problem of international cooperation or state managerialism. But how else might we conceive of this relation? Is it enough to understand it as a binary between alarmist rhetoric and managerial reason? Or does our of understanding of human migration and the environment require entirely new concepts? Are we to conceptualise migration in the context of climate change as a matter of in/justice, law and sovereignty? Or does it pose something more fundamental to the human condition? What does it mean when future environmental catastrophe conjugates with prejudice, inequality and difference? What ontological, epistemological and methodological challenges arise when environmental change and migration are characterised as a single relation? How are we to conceive of the Human, Nature, the State, the migrant and the citizen when human migration and environmental change are conjoined? What political, sociological, cultural and legal challenges does this relation pose? And what futures does it make possible? How should we conceive of migration in the Anthropocene?

By asking these and many other questions, this conference provides a multidisciplinary forum for scholars, policymakers, practitioners and artists to chart out the next generation of research on human migration and the environment. Whereas the first generation of research on environmental migration focussed squarely on problems of causation and on questions of law and policy, our starting point for the conference is that the relation between environment and migration is multidimensional, touching on all aspects of human and non-human life, including economy, social institutions, politics and culture, as well as bio- and geo-physical processes. The aim of the conference is to expand the debate on human migration and the environment beyond its current configuration as a problem of causation, law and policy towards a more pluralist debate that acknowledges the multidimensional nature of environmental change and migration. The conference should appeal to social scientists, humanities and legal scholars as well as to scientists committed to working with and within the social sciences, humanities and law.

The conference is organised around three interrelated themes of Futures, Politics, and Invention.

For more information please see: http://www.geography.dur.ac.uk/projects/ccmcostaction/Conference2015/tabid/4035/Default.aspx

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