CfP "(Re)conceptualizing Displacement, April 13th - 14th, Johns Hopkins University

Sabrina Axster Announcement
Maryland, United States
Subject Fields
Anthropology, Area Studies, Geography, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Political Science
 Dear all, Please see below the CfP for the annual Race, Immigration and Citizenship Conference at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. This year's conference will focus on "(Re)Conceptualizing Displacement" and we invite paper submissions from any discipline that critically (re)consider the ways in which the politics of displacement are conceptualized in academic, legal, and policy-based theorizing and writing. The conference will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 13th and 14th in Baltimore. Deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, February 10th, 2018 to Travel grants and accommodation will be available for accepted participants. Call for Papers For this year’s conference, we invite submissions that critically (re)consider the ways in which the politics of displacement is conceptualized in academic, legal, and policy-based theorizing and writing. Displacement is often recognized as the coerced movement of people across space (i.e. across borders, from rural to urban areas within countries, between cities, etc.). Several problems concerning thresholds and motivations for displacement arise from this spatial configuration of displacement: How far does one need to move in order to count as  displaced’? Can one be a forced migrant or be displaced without having  moved’? Thus, this notion of displacement as the movement across space might also obscure the unequal ways in which people are constrained in their mobility, or how people might feel ‘displaced’ without having moved. Moreover, conventional typologies of displacement are often determined according to whether or not a border has been crossed (i.e. refugees vs. those internally displaced), or according to the ‘force’ recognized as causing displacement (i.e. conflict; climate refugees or environmental refugees; development induced displacement; etc.). These typologies implicitly rely on an event-based understanding of displacement. Conceiving of displacement as resulting from events might, however, undermine the existence and legitimacy of other forms of displacement--for example displacement as it is intertwined with the slow grind of poverty, gender inequalities, racial stigma, ordinary violence, or slowly evolving ecological changes.

Travel grants and accommodation will be available for accepted participants.

We accept applications from graduate students in any discipline, and interested participants are encouraged to interpret the themes as broadly as possible. Papers might explore, for instance, the following questions and topics:

• How might attention to theories of space, place, ecology, race and gender be engaged in conceptualizations of displacement?

• How might we shift an understanding of displacement away from the movement of people across Cartesian space? Does the primacy of spatial mobility preclude us from considering the unequal possibilities for movement, status attainment, and dwelling?

• What are the limits/possibilities of existing typologies of displacement? How might typologizing displacement be bound up with national and regional politics of migration (i.e. the labeling of migrants as “bogus refugees” in Europe)? What, if any, are the differences between the figure of the migrants and the refugees? What are the political stakes of such a conceptual distinction?

• How might a reliance on an event-based understanding of displacement obscure the slow grind of violence or poverty as part of the ordinary? What is lost/gained in the vernacular of “refugee crisis?”

• What are the genealogies of our current conceptualizations of displacement and refugee status?

• How might specific methodologies, such as ethnography or nuanced statistical analysis, allow for different conceptualizations of displacement to emerge? How might an attention to the local or the particular trouble our understanding of displacement as a generalized concept?

Submission Guidelines

The Conference invites both individual paper submissions and panel proposals from groups of four to six people. For individual papers, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words to the Organizing Committee with the subject heading “RIC Conference Abstract.” If you are submitting a panel proposal, please subject the heading “RIC Conference Panel” and attach a brief (200 word) proposal for the panel as well as abstracts for each panel participant. Deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, February 10th 2018 to Accepted participants will be notified by Friday, February 16th.

When submitting your proposal, please indicate whether you would like to apply for travel assistance and justify the required amount in the body of your email.

We hope to see you in April. Please send any questions to

Contact Email