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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Anthropology of Displacement and Migration (PGSP11457)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines some of the key questions that displacement and migration raise for those concerned with development. How should the international community respond to refugee crises? Can transnational diasporas help build peace - or do they foment war? Should we distinguish between migrants from poverty, those fleeing conflict, and other civilians trapped in crisis? Do labels like 'economic migrant', 'refugee', 'internally displaced person', and 'asylum seeker' ensure appropriate treatment - or rather legitimise political containment?
Course description Migration is simultaneously an aspect of everyday life, political debate, and media discourse. This course will examine how anthropology has shed light on the motivations for and experiences of displacement and migration. Students will engage with a range of ethnographic and theoretical literature on migration and displacement to examine why and how people migrate. Students will analyse the nature of mobility and immobility, including the gender, class, and ethnic implications for those engaging in processes of migration. What are the implications for development that is the cause or result of migration and displacement? How are social and political affiliations and responsibilities negotiated by migrants and those left behind?

Indicative sessions include:

Transnationalism and 'flexible citizenship'
Gender, kinship, and migration
Displacement for development, conservation, or military
Conflict-induced migration
The journey: smuggling, trafficking
Encampment and detention: control, management, and immobility
Migration for development (aspiration; health; remittances)
Diasporas, remittances, and 'long-distance nationalism'
Reformulations of 'home' and 'homeland'
Migration trajectories (return, onward, circular)

The course as a whole - including the reading list and key readings, lecture topics, ethnographic and documentary films, class debates, online discussions, case studies, and essay topics - has a wide geographical scope, drawing on diverse examples from around the world.
The course entails a weekly two-hour session divided into a lecture and participative group work, and a weekly one-hour seminar for close discussion of key readings.

Students read the Key Readings for discussion at the compulsory weekly seminar. Essential Readings enable students to develop a thorough understanding of the topic, and students are encouraged to read the Essential Readings for every session. Further Readings help students to explore the wider literature on their preferred topics; students are not expected to read all the references every week, but must demonstrate that they have read many, if not all, of the suggested readings for their essay topic.

Students will be assessed via two pieces of coursework: a mid-term short formative essay and an end-term longer summative essay in the form of a discursive anthropological essay, requiring students to engage with the relevant bodies of anthropological literature in order to delve into one or more of the course themes in more depth.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and advanced critical understanding of specialised theories, concepts and principles in the history and forefront of anthropology of displacement and migration studies.
  2. Critically evaluate the contributions made by professional anthropologists as internal advisors, independent consultants, or academic critics of displacement for development, conservation, or military activities.
  3. Develop original and creative responses by applying insights from anthropology of displacement and migration studies to related development and human rights issues.
  4. Engage constructively with others during class debates and online discussions, and exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in individual assessment activities.
  5. Effectively communicate their extensive, detailed, and critical knowledge of complex debates in the anthropology of displacement and migration studies in discursive essays.
Reading List
Glick-Schiller, N. & A. Simsek-Caglar. 2011. Locating Migration: Rescaling Cities and Migrants. New York: Cornell University Press.

Jeffery, L. 2011. Chagos Islanders in Mauritius and UK: Forced Displacement and Onward Migration. Manchester: MUP.

Long, K. The Point of No Return: Refugees, Rights and Repatriation. Oxford: OUP.

Malkki, L. H. 1995. Purity & Exile: Violence, Memory & National Consciousness among Hutu Refugees in Tanzania. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ong, A. 1999. Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Durham: Duke University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course and its assessments will equip students to take an anthropological approach to understanding the socio-cultural, socio-political, and socio-economic implications of displacement, migration, and associated development and human rights issues. Students will be able to:

Use collaboration and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views.
Make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding.
Seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-awareness.
Transfer their knowledge, learning, skills and abilities from one context to another.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Laura Jeffery
Tel: (0131 6)51 3865
Course secretaryMr Benjamin Mcnab
Tel: (0131 6)51 4832
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