1st Turkish-German Frontiers of Humanities Symposium 2013

Design of the Symposium

New Constellations of Migration

Short but diverse histories of migrations have profoundly shaped the relationship between Turkey and Germany in the 20th century and continue to be of great relevance today. Access to and governance of cross-border mobility, as well as the differential incorporation of migrant groups, ethnic, and racialized minorities not only have been at the locus of academic inquiry but also contentious debates in both nation-states. Immigrants from Turkey and their descendants continue to form the largest migrant group in Germany, while simultaneously being the largest diaspora population outside of Turkey.

The developments of the last two decades, however, have created new constellations of migration that the 1st TUGFOH Symposium seeks to address: while European migration regimes have left their mark on the governance of migration in both countries, Turkey and Germany have seen an influx of new migrant groups and new forms of cross-border mobility. Changes in migration regimes and new transport and communication possibilities have facilitated the emergence of transnational social fields, movements, institutions, and imaginaries. Inter- and intra-national migration is expanding and transforming many urban centers and their populations in unprecedented ways, necessitating migration-informed approaches to cities and the trans-local connectivities of their inhabitants. Neoliberal forms of governance, economic boom and crisis, often combined with new moral imperatives and panics around integration and culture, create new pressures of mobility but also forced immobilities.

The 1st TUGFOH Symposium aims to interrogate these new constellations of migration through a comparative as well as interconnected study of developments in both Turkey and Germany. Questions to be explored include, but not limited to: What forms of cross-border mobility have emerged in response to pressures and opportunities created within and without the nation-state and Europe? What are the emerging transnational political structures and collective actors and what is their impact, if any, on the politics and everyday life in both countries but also beyond? How do migration studies inform and get shaped by the study of contemporary urban centers? How do new transnational imaginaries and changing cultural identities reflect and influence formations of migrancy?

The symposium will address these questions under four broad thematic sessions:

The Sociology Session focuses on new dynamics of cross-border mobility between Turkey and Germany, which so far have received not enough academic attention; not least because the phenomena concerned are difficult to trace through official statistical databases. These phenomena include the mobile ageing practices of retired former labor-migrants but also senior German citizens without prior migration backgrounds, the mobility of highly-skilled workers who seek employment opportunities abroad, and that of students who increasingly move between the two countries.

The Political Science Session takes the transnational political space that has emerged in the Turkish-Kurdish-German political landscape as its point of departure. The social/political movements and organized migrant populations in Germany have a visible impact on politics in Turkey, while politics in Turkey shapes the developments in Germany. Political action moves beyond the context and the boundaries of the nation-state. The session will focus on the interplay between social and political movements and institutions generated and practiced across the national borders in a transnational space and will address the conceptual implications of such interactions for citizenship and integration.

The Comparative European Literature Session approaches multiple migrations to and within Europe by placing particular emphasis on the role they play in re-framing national identity discourses and in opening venues for transnational authorship. Panel will inquire into the ways in which transnational literatures invite us to re-think crucial issues such as assimilation, integration, cultural hybridity, spaces of liminality, and textual multilingualism. Moreover, the impact that transnational literatures and comparative literary studies have had on the reconfiguration of the European intellectual legacy and the European literary canon will be critically assessed and interrogated.

The Anthropology Session departs from recent emphasis on the city in social studies. The panel will explore the new formations of rights, mobility, and hierarchy from the perspective of the connections between city and migration referring to the insights brought by city planning, urban geography, cultural anthropology, and economy. Thereby the panel will push forward an approach that could be labeled as “migration perspective” in researching and explicating the urban phenomena from a historical informed position of migrancy.


Frontiers of Research Symposia

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