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People Movement & Migration

Teacher: Julie Shackelford    Lessons:  4/ week


E pur si muove
(‘And yet it moves’)

- phrase attributed to the Italian mathematician, physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) after being forced to recant his claim that the Earth moves around the Sun rather than the other way around

It is often said in academic and more popular accounts, that international migration is one of the ‘signature phenomena’ of the modern age. However, the reality is that humans have always been on the move in one way or another. In fact, for 99% of our history modern humans have lived as nomads, and until about 10,000 years ago, there were few, if any, permanent homes or villages. Thus, just as the Church attempted (unsuccessfully) to deny Galileo’s claim that the Earth moves around the Sun, today’s politicians and border police try to prevent human mobility around the world. But, much like the Earth itself, it’s inevitable: people move.

To explore human movement, mobility and migration in all its forms

To challenge common assumptions of migration as a ‘new’ phenomenon or a global ‘problem’ to solve

To think critically about concepts of human mobility – particularly in relation to opposing terms such as stasis, settlement, and ‘the state’ – and the moral assumptions they carry, as well as their relationship to notions of authority and power

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to explore people ‘on the move’ in a wide range of contexts, including: historical, contemporary and cross-cultural case studies, with a particular emphasis on the Middle East (upon which much of the study of migration has historically been based); push and pull factors; ‘voluntary’ versus ‘forced’ migration; global diasporas; immigrant stories; conceptions of ‘home’ in ‘exile’; and the material culture of movement, mobility and migration.

The course will employ a variety of methods, including: lectures, small- and large-group discussions, texts, independent research, in-class films and other multi-media tools; guest speakers; personal movement, mobility and migration stories; and movement-as-method.

International People's College, Montebello Allé 1, 3000 Helsingør, +45 49 21 33 61