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2021-2022 Events

Crossing: How We Label and React to People on the Move

Crossing: How We Label and React to People on the Move

September 21

4:30 PM


With Rebecca Hamlin, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Discussant: Serena Parekh, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Northeastern University

Hamlin will present her recent book, Crossing: How We Label and React to People on the Move.   Copies of the book will be for sale at the event.

About the book:

Today, the concept of "the refugee" as distinct from other migrants looms large. Immigration laws have developed to reinforce a dichotomy between those viewed as voluntary, often economically motivated, migrants who can be legitimately excluded by potential host states, and those viewed as forced, often politically motivated, refugees who should be let in. In Crossing, Rebecca Hamlin argues against advocacy positions that cling to this distinction. Everything we know about people who decide to move suggests that border crossing is far more complicated than any binary, or even a continuum, can encompass. Drawing on cases of various "border crises" across Europe, North America, South America, and the Middle East, Hamlin outlines major inconsistencies and faulty assumptions on which the binary relies. The migrant/refugee binary is not just an innocuous shorthand—indeed, its power stems from the way in which it is painted as apolitical. In truth, the binary is a dangerous legal fiction, politically constructed with the ultimate goal of making harsh border control measures more ethically palatable to the public. This book is a challenge to all those invested in the rights and study of migrants to move toward more equitable advocacy for all border crossers.

More about the book.

About the author:

Rebecca Hamlin is Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009. Since then, her research has focused on law and immigration politics, with a particular interest in migrant categorization and the concept of a refugee. Her published work has examined how the United States and other liberal democracies use administrative agencies and courts to adjudicate migration and citizenship questions, and the political responses to judicial involvement in migration matters. She is the author of two books: Let Me Be a Refugee (2014, Oxford University Press) and Crossing: How We Label and React to People on the Move (2021, Stanford University Press).  

About the discussant:

Serena Parekh is an associate professor of philosophy at Northeastern University in Boston, where she is the director of the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Program. She is the co-editor of Feminist Philosophy Quarterly. Her most recent book, No Refuge: Ethics and the Global Refugee Crisis  will be published by Oxford University Press in October 2020. Other books include Refugees and the Ethics of Forced Displacement (Routledge in 2017),   (available to read for free via Open Access) and Hannah Arendt and the Challenge of Modernity: A Phenomenology of Human Rights (Routledge 2008), which was also translated into Chinese. She has also published numerous articles on social and political philosophy in Hypatia, Philosophy and Social Criticism, and Human Rights Quarterly. Her primary philosophical interests are in social and political philosophy, feminist theory, and global justice.


NB: We will open registration when we are sure of an event location and if any online option will be available. Thank you.

Timothy Karcz

2021-2022 Events