Guest Speaker: Morgan Poteet
Visiting Scholar at Centre for Refugee Studies, York University
Co-author: Andrea Terry, Lakehead University
This presentation is based on an institutional history and analysis of recent guided tour programming offered at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, exploring its simultaneous dependence on and entrenchment of volunteerism. Based on an analysis of the motivations and achievements of volunteer collectives, guided tours and interpreter interviews, we approach Pier 21 as an example of “heritage as performance” (Smith, 2006). Exploring the site as the result of memory-making processes indicates tensions between bottom-up activities mounted by local community members and state-sanctioned heritage designation policies, as well as national(ized) narratives.
Smith, Laurajane. 2006. Uses of Heritage. London and New York: Routledge.
Morgan Poteet has conducted research on belonging for Central American youth in Toronto and international students in the Atlantic region of Canada, youth-police relations in New Brunswick, and refugee integration in Scotland, UK and Atlantic Canada. Poteet teaches courses on immigration and settlement in the Department of Sociology at Mt. Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. He is Past President of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS), currently Director at Large on the CARFMS Executive, and a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS), York University, Toronto.
The Centre for Feminist Research and the Centre for Refugee Studies Present:
Challenging Trafficking in Canada Policy Brief Launch
519 Kaneff Tower, York University
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Challenging Trafficking in Canada presents information about human trafficking interventions as they impact sex workers, Indigenous women, migrants, youth, and other marginalized groups. Drawing from established research and consultations with organizations around the country, the policy brief analyses how anti-trafficking policies, laws and practices often cause violence and harm to those they are intended to help, especially Indigenous, racialized and migrant sex workers. It offers an alternative to misinformation, exaggerations and unfounded claims that often circulate through the media and public discussion.
Join us for a conversation with community organizers about the Brief and how issues of labour exploitation, criminalization, and precarious migration status impact local and migrant workers across multiple industries.
Lead editors of the policy brief:
Dr. Kamala Kempadoo & Nicole D. McFadyen (PhD Candidate), York University
Elene Lam, Director
Butterfly: Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network
Syed Hussan, Coordinator
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Evelyn Encalada Grez, Organizer and co-Founder
Justicia for Migrant Workers
Andrea Sterling, Board Chair
Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
About the panelists:
Elene Lam (LLM, LLB, MSW. BSW) Master of Law is the founder and executive director of Butterfly (Asian and migrant sex workers support network) and Migrant Sex Workers Project (MSWP). She has been involved in the sex work, gender, migrant and labour movement and activism for more than 17 years.
Evelyn Encalada Grez is co-founder of the award-winning collective Justicia for Migrant Workers. She was part of the films “Migrant Dreams” and “El Contrato” directed by Min Sook Lee that features the injustices lived by migrant workers in Canada. She is contract faculty at York University and a PhD candidate in Social Justice Education at OISE of the University of Toronto.
Andrea Sterling is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. She is currently the Chair of the Board of Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project, and has been involved with sex working communities in Montréal and Toronto since 2006. Andrea was involved in the development of the policy brief as a contributing member of the editorial and research teams representing Maggie’s Toronto. Her research examines sex work and modes of regulation and is guided by the lived realities of sex workers in her community.
Supported by: Maggie’s Toronto
Sponsored by: Centre for Feminist Research, Centre for Refugee Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of Social Science & International Development Studies at York University.
Please RSVP to email@example.com. Light refreshments provided.
Guest Speaker: Nasir Uddin,University of Chittagong
The Rohingyas, widely known as the most persecuted people in the world, have recently encountered thousands of indiscriminate killings, hundreds of horrific raping and random burning of hundreds of villages perpetrated by the Myanmar security forces and extremist Buddhist nationalists in what the United Nations Human Rights Council termed ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’. In the name of counter-insurgency operations, Myanmar security forces committed an unprecedented violence which forced more than 600,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh in addition to existing 500,000, which created ‘the biggest refugee crises’ and ‘a humanitarian catastrophe’ in the near past. The intensity of brutality and the degree of atrocity was so dreadful that many international rights bodies (Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch) and acclaimed media outlets (Al Zajeera, The New York Times, ABC News, BBC, and CNN) called it “genocide”.
Why the Rohingyas experience genocide, ethnic cleansing and critical refugee situation is due to their stateless identity in Myanmar apart from their ethno-linguistic and religious difference from the national majority. The Rohingyas were made stateless in 1982 enacting ‘Myanmar Citizenship Law’ which legally rendered them non-citizens; a vulnerable category belonging to no state. In that sense, the Rohingyas are non-existent human beings as they do not exist in the legal framework of any state. Therefore, they frequently experience persecution, atrocities and everyday forms of discrimination as they are dealt with as if they are less than human beings, in what Uddin prefers to phrase as ‘sub-human’. This talk, with empirically grounded evidences and recent experiences of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and refugee situation, will focus on the plight of Rohingyas in the borderland of Myanmar and Bangladesh
Nasir Uddin is a cultural anthropologist based in Bangladesh and a professor of anthropology at the University of Chittagong. His research interests include statelessness and refugee studies; human rights and non-citizens; indigeneity and identity politics; the state in everyday life; the politics of marginality and vulnerability; and borderlands and border people, particularly those of Bangladesh and Myanmar, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and South Asia. His publications include To Host or To Hurt: Counter-narratives on the Rohingya (Refugees) in Bangladesh (2012); Life in Peace and Conflict: Indigeneity and State in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (2017) and Indigeneity on the Move: Varying Manifestation of a Contested Concept (2017). Currently he is working on a monograph, the Rohingyas: A Tale of Sub-Human (2018).
Ranabir Samaddar, Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group in Kolkata India and currently the O’Brien Residency Fellow, McGill University
Most writings on refugee economy or the immigrant economy refer to changes in the immigrant labour absorption policies of the Western governments. In these writings the refugee economy or the immigrant economy never features directly; refugees are seen as economic actors in the market. But we do not get a full picture of why capitalism in late twentieth or early twenty first century needs these refugee or immigrant labour as economic actors. The organic link between the immigrant as an economic actor and the global capitalist economy seems to escape the analysis in these writings. Yet, if immigration policies produce precarious labour, this has general significance for the task of theorising the migrant as living labour. The question of the production of living labour is important because it puts in a critical perspective the necessity of the states and the international regime of protection to synchronise the economic and the political strategies of protection. Yet the disjuncture between the two strategies of protection is not only typical of the postcolonial parts of the globe, the disjuncture is evident in the developed countries. Globally, one can say, capital sets in motion movements of labour within a specific field of force that dictates how and why migrant labour is to be harnessed, disciplined, and governed (for instance the dominant presence of immigrant labour in logistics, health care, agriculture, etc.), and that shapes the links between “strategies” (that control migrants once they are in motion) and the mechanisms that set these movements in motion.
Hence the ambiguous position the category of the forced migrant occupies in the organisation of the reality called population and its division in various categories. While governing people has become possible by turning population groups into administrative categories, yet the category of migrant, the footloose labour, or the forced migrant escapes these adminstrative categorisations. As migrant labour, they show that management of migrant labour is not simply a matter of rule, sovereignty, and management. Performing labour as parts of wandering bands of construction labour, or labour in sex, care, and entertainment industry, various logistical services, petty shops and outlets, and various other sites of production, social subsistence, and social reproduction, the refugee or the migrant becomes the labouring subject of the capitalism of our time. They become one of the defining elements of the organisation of populations under global capitalism today.
Ranabir Samaddar belongs to the critical school of thinking and is considered as one of the foremost theorists in the field of migration and forced migration studies. His writings have signaled a new turn in critical postcolonial thinking. His co-authored work on new town and new forms of accumulation Beyond Kolkata: Rajarhat and the Dystopia of Urban Imagination (Routledge, 2014) takes forward urban studies in the context of post-colonial capitalism. Karl Marx and the Postclonial Age (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017) is his latest work discussing the relevance of Marx in the global age of postcolonialism and neoliberalism. He is currently the Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group.