CFP: Forced Migration and Refugees Unit, Birzeit University

Posted: June 21, 2011 by Rex Brynen in conferences

The Forced Migration and Refugees Unit at the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies (FMRU/IALIIS) — Birzeit University invites interested researchers to submit proposals for its annual conference, planned to be held in mid-November, 2011,  on the theme of Palestinian Refugees: Different Generations but One Identity.

The concept of the refugee, as associated with the Palestinian case, is not limited to those who were actually displaced from historical Palestine during the nakba of 1948 in addition to those driven out during the Israeli invasion of June 1967 (the naksa). Palestinian refugees include successive generations of descendants of the first refugees. Nor is one speaking of Palestinian camp residents only, since many Palestinians left these camps to reside elsewhere in countries of first asylum or emigrated and today reside in the Diaspora. Any serious study must also include those formally described as internally displaced, having been forbidden from returning to their original homes without being driven over the borders of the state of Israel.

The conference will deal with Palestinian refugees under this broad definition, taking into account their material, social, psychological and cultural conditions in a comparative context, with the aim of identifying changes over time, and from one generation to another. Comparative studies will be made between those living within and outside of refugee camps, and as between regions and countries of residence, and between Palestine and other cases in the world.

Sub-themes to be addressed in the conference will include:

  • Studying the evolution of the social, intellectual, behavioral and psychological identity of Palestinian refugees, considering changes (if any) in this identity across generations, along with the involvement of refugees in their communities of residence.
  • The phenomenon found among some refugees of moving away from existing stereotypes, such as that of the victim, and its impact on successive generations.
  • Intergenerational differences in terms of educational attainment and the desire to learn and study.
  • The willingness and motivation of refugees to work and be productive; the accessibility of job opportunities.
  • Available health care and the utilization of health care facilities.
  • The role of refugee women and their contribution, inside and outside the refugee camps.
  • Changes in the identities of the young generation of refugees.
  • Relations between the young refugees who emigrated and their relatives.
  • Networking between young refugees, home and abroad.
  • Social and professional mobility within the camps and the role of refugee women in strengthening this mobility.

Potential participants are asked to send a  500-word abstract by July 30th, 2011 to the FMRU at fmru@birzeit.edu. Decisions on acceptance by mid-August, 2011. Submission of the first draft (8000-10,000 words) is expected no later than mid-October 2011, and submission of final paper (based on recommendations by the committee) by late October 2011. Travel and lodgings for those coming from abroad will be covered.

For further information, see the IALIIS website.

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