Alise Coen is Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Public & Environmental Affairs Unit at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Her research focuses on global governance, refugees, human rights, and US foreign policy. Her articles have recently appeared in International Relations, Ethics & International Affairs, Politics & Religion, and The International Journal of Human Rights. She is currently writing a book about US refugee policy.
This Month's Topic: How Do We Belong? Insights from Refugee and Migration Studies
The fields of refugee and migration studies have much to teach us regarding the subtle ways that inclusion and exclusion play out in everyday practices and interactions. In the classroom and in the community, the university has an opportunity to carve out local spaces of belonging for those with global experiences and backgrounds—including students, faculty, staff, and community members with refugee and migrant backgrounds. Engaging with these issues of belonging and exclusion requires better understanding the diverse legal and social statuses among people labeled as “refugees” and “immigrants” and how we are all impacted by the perpetuation of stereotypes around such labels.
To facilitate our discussion of these issues, we will read Heba Gowayed’s “Resettled and Unsettled: Syrian Refugees and the Intersection of Race and Legal Status in the United States.” Gowayed examines the intersection of legal status and racialization in shaping notions of security and safety among refugee and migrant groups. Her case study draws on interviews and ethnographic research with Syrian refugees resettled in the United States during the 2015-16 US election cycle, shedding light on the precarious social status of migrant groups even when they have achieved legal status.
Gowayed’s study calls attention to how racialization and related stereotypes rooted in generalizations of ethnic and religious groups manifest in the treatment of refugees and migrants within the United States.
Source: Ethnic and Racial Studies Journal. Vol. 43, Issue 2.
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