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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Europäische Ethnologie

Architectures of Refuge and Displacement

Workshop with Elizabeth Cullen Dunn (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Organizers: Jens Adam & Regina Römhild, Research Laboratories “Critical Europeanization Studies” and “Migration” at the Institute for European Ethnology in cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Center „Border Crossings - Crossing Borders“, HU Berlin
Date: Wednesday October 24, 2018, 3pm-6pm
Venue: Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, HU Berlin, Mohrenstraße 41, 10117 Berlin, Room 212

Refuge and forced migration evoke manifold architectural forms and socio-material arrangements: temporary shelters along the migratory routes and “welcome centers” at places of destination; border fences and camps; lodgings in abandoned repurposed infrastructures and alternative housing projects pushed forward by refugees themselves and their local supporters – in each case movements are transformed into – sometimes ephemeral, sometimes enduring – materialities and become graspable for citizens as much as attackable by political and societal adversaries.

These architectural forms can be read, on the one hand, as effects of state policies, transnational vectors of power and the “networks of violence and care” (Dunn 2017: 17) that have been established to deal with the phenomena of refuge and forced migration. On the other hand, these socio-material arrangements constitute the very sites where the refugees’ attempts to “remake themselves as coherent subjects by reforging relationships to places, things, and other people” and hereby to “rebuild a normal situation” (Dunn 2017: 24) take place.

In this workshop we would like to take architectures of refuge as starting point to discuss questions of political subjectivities and migrant agency, regulating policies and domination that shape refuge migration, displacement, detention and deportation as transnational societal dynamics. We invite scholars working in the fields of migration and border studies, humanitarianism and critical europeanization research to join by writing an email to adamjens@cms.hu-berlin.de until October 16. Our discussion will be based partly on case studies and ongoing fieldwork. For that purpose we would like to encourage participants to share their empirical insights and analytical reflections about architectures of refuge and displacement during the workshop. Please indicate in your registration in case you would like to present some of your material on this occasion.



Dunn, Elizabeth Cullen (2017): No Path Home. Humanitarian Camps and the Grief of Displacement. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

An Architektur (2003): Exterritories and Camps. Juridical-Political Spaces in the War on Terrorism. http://www.republicart.net/disc/empire/anarchitektur01_en.htm
An Architektur (2002): Grenzgeographie Sangatte. http://anarchitektur.org/aa03_sangatte/aa03_sangatte.pdf
De Genova, Nicolas (2010): Theoretical Overview. In: Nicolas de Genova & Nathalie Peutz (eds.), The Deportation Regime: Sovereignity, Space, and the Freedom of Movement. Durham, London: Duke University Press, 33-68.
Lenz, Ramona (2010): ‘Hotel Royal’ and Other Spaces of Hospitality. In: Julie Scott & Tom Selwyn (eds.), Thinking Through Tourism. Oxford, New York: Berg Publishers, 209-230.
Petti, Alessandro, Sandi Hilal, Eyal Weizman (2013): Architecture after Revolution. Berlin: Sternberg Press.
Römhild, Regina, Anja Schwanhäußer, Gökce Yurdakul & Birgit zur Nieden (eds., 2013): Witnessing the Transition: Moments in the Long Summer of Migration. Berlin: Institut für empirische Integrations- und Migrationsforschung.
E-Book: https://edoc.hu-berlin.de/bitstream/handle/18452/19415/witnessing-the-transition.pdf?sequence=1
In this book, see especially: Elena Fontanari: Looking for Neverland. The experience of the group “Lampedusa in Berlin” and the refugee protest of Oranienplatz, 15-34 & Flavia Alice Mameli, Josefine Løndorf Sarkez & Anne van Wetteren: Sensing Tempelhofer Freiheit, 201-214.
Weizman, Eyal (2017): Forensic Architecture. Violence at the Threshold of Detectability. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.