European Migration Crisis: A Two-Day Conference for Scholars/Community Members at MSU

The refugee crisis in Europe is one of the defining events of the twenty-first century. Whether or not Europe can hold itself together and govern in solidarity in the face of both waves of refugees and growing nationalistic sentiment within individual member states will define the future economic, political and cultural order. How European and North American policymakers and citizens react to a crisis will also affect global relationships with Middle Eastern countries holding refugees, especially Turkey.
The global nature of the problem requires an innovative and interdisciplinary approach. This two-day symposium (April 1-2, 2016) will be organized around three main questions:

  • How do we count? Refugees, aid packages, and other data about public health and behaviors are quantified. Frontex, the European border agency, has admitted to counting refugees twice. Turkey is negotiating a billion-dollar aid deal to seal its borders. What responsibilities do we have to quantify correctly, and what tools are at our disposal to visualize this data?
  • How do we govern? The Schengen Agreement and Dublin III-Regulations which process refugees within Europe and permit free travel have ceased to function. What political changes await the European Union as various member states begin to police their borders? How will new policies about refugee toleration affect citizenship laws? How can we develop models that promote the adaptation and integration of refugees to their new surroundings? What role will Germany play on the European stage? What role will the United States play as a country of immigration?
  • How do we imagine? Aesthetic responses to the crisis raise important questions of representation and identification. Some immediate responses include: long-form journalistic portraits of families leaving Syria, performance art, radio and television documentaries, and essays developed for European audiences in rapid cycles of consumption. What happens after refugees arrive and begin to adjust to life in a new place? How are these experiences explored in creative forms?

We welcome presentation proposals from a variety of academic and community stakeholders which address these questions. Please send a brief proposal (150-250 words), along with a brief description (50 words) about the preferred presentation format, as a Word document to Johanna Schuster-Craig at by January 25, 2016. Unique presentation formats are welcome. If this deadline has already passed, please contact the email address above with questions about submissions after the deadline.

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