5 July 2019
Conceptualizing, Navigating, and Representing the Field in Migration Studies
The school will encourage participants to consider how they conceptualize their empirical fields and will also examine the epistemological claims of ‘migration studies’.
The school will be led by interdisciplinary scholars working on different aspects of contemporary and historical migration and their connections to broader social and political questions. Participants will be encouraged to critically assess the epistemological, methodological and political implications of doing ‘migration studies’ in relation to their own research.
The course will centre on the concept of the field: how is the field of migration studies produced and bordered? How are are our individual fieldwork experiences framed and navigated? Based on non-traditional, interactive lectures combined with group work sessions and peer-to-peer engagement, the course will focus on problematising how knowledge about and around migration is produced, ‘owned’ and circulated. By the end of the course, participants will gain knowledge of key social and political issues that impact on the study of migration and be able to reflect on these in relation to their field.
Studying migration involves a range of diverse, sometimes conflicting, political and social actors, institutions, histories and interests. Researchers need to navigate complex social and relational landscapes that require making difficult methodological, ethical, epistemological, and political choices. During the course, participants will hear reflections from scholars with experience of different forms of fieldwork and will be encouraged to share their own reflections on these issues. By bringing together people imagining their field, people doing the field and people struggling with the dissonances that often come from ‘writing up’ the field, we aim to encourage creative synergies and discussion. In order to ensure that the focus of the course remains on issues to do with the field, we aim for approximately two-thirds of participants to be PhDs who have done fieldwork or postdoctoral fellows.
Celine Cantat, Center for Policy Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Prem Kumar Rajaram, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology/CEU Open Learning Initiative (OLIve, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Participants will be graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working on migration issues broadly understood at different stages of fieldwork, including researchers who have yet to undertake fieldwork (but are about to), researchers in the field, and post-fieldwork researchers writing up their research. By bringing together people imagining their field, people doing the field and people struggling with the dissonances that often come from ‘writing up’ the field, we aim to encourage creative synergies and discussion. In order to ensure that the focus of the course remains on issues to do with the field, we aim for approximately two-thirds of participants to be PhDs who have done fieldwork or postdoctoral fellows.
Undergraduates without a university degree will not be considered.
The aim of this summer school is to examine the field of migration studies with a focus on three key aspects:
(1) reflecting on “migration studies” as a discipline and critically examining the assumptions that underlie the production of knowledge about migrants and migration;
(2) reflecting on the process of migration research fieldwork and of conducting work “in the field” with migrants and other related actors;
(3) critically engaging with the way the field of migration research is represented and exploring possible alternative ways of speaking about and representing migration research.
Undertaking migration research is an exercise fraught with a number of potential pitfalls. Migration researchers work with vulnerabilised populations, in areas oft-described as crisis zones. Researchers are also encouraged to take on positions of ‘experts’, people able to explain the complexity of contemporary human mobility, re-iterating and recycling modes of understanding and framing that sometimes speak more to the conceptualizations and concerns of Euro-American academia than to the complex realities of contemporary migration.
CEU Summer University also awards a certificate of attendance upon successful completion of the course. In order to gain this certificate, participants will be expected to attend and actively participate in all classes and complete assignments required by the course.
EUR 300: payable unitl May 25, 2019
EUR 270: payable until April 30, 2019
The course is generously funded by CEU enabling participation at a low, subsidized tuition cost. As some applicants may have difficulty paying for tuition and/or some of the other associated costs (travel and accommodation), we are able to offer a limited