border art
Image courtesy Solidarity Across Borders

Migration and Refugee Scholars, Activists Talk at UC Davis

UC Davis will bring together migration and refugee scholars and activists from around the globe for a roundtable discussion Feb. 14. "Border Protests and Transnational Solidarities," organized by the Mellon Initiative in Comparative Border Studies at UC Davis will examine border and migration issues in Palestine, Korea, North Africa, Latin America and Kashmir.

The event takes place from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis and is free and open to the public.

border aRT
Image courtesy Solidarity Across Borders

"They will speak to pressing issues of exclusion, racism and violence due to borders, walls and travel bans," said Sunaina Maira, co-director of the initiative and a professor of Asian American Studies in the College of Letters and Science. "Given the current controversy raging over President Trump's attempt to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and fortify the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the ongoing bans against Muslim and Arab immigrants and refugees, this roundtable will offer a much-needed conversation about how resistance is being waged around the world."

Speakers taking part:

  • Nayrouz Abu Hatoum, an anthropologist and visiting fellow in the Department of History and Art History at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, explores visual politics in Palestine.
  • Christine Ahn is the international coordinator of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to decrease tensions on the Korean peninsula, reunite families separated by the war, and ensure women's leadership in the peace movement.
  • Azza Falfoul, a university student and activist from Tunisia, works with migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Africa and is involved with Alarm Phone/Watch the Med, a hotline for people in distress while crossing.
  • Ingrid Vaca is an immigrant rights activist from Bolivia and co-founder of DREAMers' Moms USA International which works to support DACA.
  • Ather Zia, assistant professor of anthropology and gender studies at the University of Northern Colorado-Greeley, is co-editor of They Gave Us Blood: Narratives of Normalcy, Sacrifice, and Terror in Kashmir, founder of the journal Kashmir Lit and co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies, an interdisciplinary network of scholars.

"This roundtable will put into conversation issues in these locations, the ways people are protesting xenophobia, Islamophobia, militarization and nuclearization, and transnational partnerships for peace, social justice and the freedom to move as well to stay," Maira said.

Exhibition examines hospitality

An exhibition at the Manetti Shrem Museum connected to the roundtable explores hospitality across cultures. Curated by Susette Min, associate professor of Asian American Studies at UC Davis, "¿Welcome?" is composed of socially and politically engaged work by five artists with transnational backgrounds. It will be on display through June 24.

Cross-border citizens talk

In May, Comparative Border Studies will host "Cross-Border Citizens," a talk by Teddy Cruz, professor of public culture and urbanization in the Department of Visual Arts, UC San Diego, and Fonna Forman, professor of political theory, UC San Diego. The 4 p.m. May 2 talk looks at how border zones can be sites of civic and artistic creativity and explores the idea of a cross-border citizen.

Humanizing Deportation Archive

“Humanizing Deportation/Humanizando la Deportación: A Digital Storytelling Project,” also by the Comparative Border Studies Initiative, brought together the stories of 50 people who have been deported recently. The videos can be watched online.

— Jeffrey Day, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science

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