Archives of Migration: Annual Academic and Policy Symposium “Innovation through Migration”

09.12-10.12.2019,Symposium, Berkeley

Policy Symposium at the Pacific Regional Office of the GHI in Berkeley, Moses Hall
Conveners: Fatima El-Tayeb (UC San Diego) and Andrea Westermann (GHI PRO, Berkeley)

The symposium of the German Historical Institute Washington discusses the connection of migration, knowledge, and archives in a historical perspective and brings the invited professionals into (lasting) contact.

Structured around the larger theme of archives of migration, the symposium will explore the role of knowledge transmission at the intersections of art, activism, education, media production, policy development and academia. While the focus of migration studies and polices often is on knowledge production, here, participants will explore how knowledge, once collected, is preserved and made accessible (or not). We explore the relationship between dominant and marginalized forms of knowledge, the role of material and cultural resources in creating and maintaining archives and the tension between national and transnational narratives of migration. We are also interested in processes of interpretation and re-interpretation. As with other archives, the materials assembled in “archives of migration” lend themselves to ever new projects of (historical) sense-making and world-making.

The focus on archives of migration seems extremely relevant in light of recent developments that urgently require innovative approaches, yet tend to replicate failed models. The European refugee crisis for example, provoked a cycle of reactions in Germany, from Willkommenskultur to the rapid success of anti-immigrant movements and parties, that played out in strikingly similar patterns as in the early 1990s, shortly after the German unification and the end of the Cold War. Similarly, the realization that marginalized knowledges need to be included in policy decisions, education models, and outreach efforts seems to laboriously be arrived at and then forgotten again in predictable generational cycles.

The proposed symposium will thus not only explore the innovations arrived at through migration, but also how these insights can be presented and preserved in a manner that allows them to have lasting, if changing impact. The symposium aims at generating productive discussions and innovative results by bringing together actors who normally would not find themselves easily in conversation, despite working on similar issues. Participants from the academic, cultural, activist and policy sectors will explore and present different forms of archiving and transmitting knowledge around migration regimes. Through a set of thematic panels, the symposium will bring together diverse methodologies and theoretical perspectives. It seeks to practice what it preaches, that is, it aims at serving as an amplifier for commenting on and making visible the growing archive on histories of migration.

For further nformation click here.