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Refugee Cities: Urban Dimensions of Forced Displacement

General Programming

  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Center for the Study of Social Difference
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Vintage photograph of two women walking with city in the far background

The Refugee Cities Working Group at the Center for the Study of Social Difference presents an interdisciplinary public symposium, “Refugee Cities: Urban Dimensions of Forced Displacement.”

The Refugee Cities Working Group’s concerns lie at the intersection of urban studies on the one hand and, on the other, the humanistic and social justice-oriented study of the mass movement of people fleeing violence, war, and forced removal. This symposium will focus on the impact of refugees on cities and urban processes, both in the present moment and as a historical phenomenon.

A keynote lecture will take place on the evening of Thursday, April 27, with all other presentations to be scheduled throughout the day on Friday, April 28.

In conjunction with Refugree Cities, the SOF/Heyman is also co-sponsoring a film screening of Dry Ground Burning (Friday, April 28; register here) followed by the Beyond Dystopia roundtable (Saturday, April 29; register here), which both seek to build on the themes and ideas raised by the symposium.


time6:15pm EDT

Keynote Lecture
Borders and Commoning: The Struggle over Political Imagination

Miriam Ticktin

Department of Anthropology

CUNY Graduate Center

time10:15am EDT

Panel One
Lineage and Patronage: Dual Identities of the Refugees in Early China, c. 770-476 BCE

Liu Xuan

Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures

Columbia University

Between the Seven Worlds: Curing and Cosmological Migration with Uitoto Desplazados

Amy Leia McLachlan

Field Museum

Peace in Refugee Cities? Lessons from Resettled Rohingya Refugees in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Fort Wayne

Helal Mohammed Khan

Department of Anthropology/Peace Studies

University of Notre Dame

Whose city? The Refugees, The Locals and the Changing Dynamics of the Urban Landscape of Post-Partition Calcutta

Subhasree Ghosh

Asutosh College (University of Calcutta, India)


A. George Bajalia

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Wesleyan University

time12:00pm EDT


time1:00pm EDT

Panel Two
Between Global Humanitarian Policy & Local Implementation: On the Socio-spatial Protection of Urban Refugees in Beirut, Lebanon

Maureen Abi-Ghanem

Doctoral Student in Urban Planning

Columbia University

Rhythms of Cement: Displaced Syrian Construction Workers in Modern-day Beirut

Bailey Miller

Doctoral Student in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies

Columbia University

"It Only Lacked a University”: The Urban Identity of Damascus’s Yarmouk Refugee Camp

Matthew DeMaio

Doctoral Student in the Department of Anthropology

George Washington University

Urbanization and Multiple Migrations: The Social Production of Burj al-Barajneh Refugee Camp

Nadia Latif

Doctoral Student in the Department of Anthropology

Columbia University


Nora Akawi

Assistant Professor of Architecture

The Cooper Union

time2:45pm EDT

Closing Roundtable

Amy Chazkel

Department of History

Columbia University

Bahia Munem

Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race

Columbia University

Fanny Julissa García

Researcher, oral historian, and educator

Jorge Rodríguez Solórzano

Department of Anthropology

Columbia University