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“Changing discourses of migration – categories, faith-based interpretations and innovative practices”

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE on the 23rd November 2018, Catholic University Mainz

Dear colleagues,
We would like to announce that the Catholic University Mainz (Germany) will hold an international conference on the 23rd November 2018. The conference will be entitled
“Changing discourses of migration – categories, faith-based interpretations and innovative practices”

During the past centuries and decades, wars and areas of violent conflict have produced high numbers of migration flows. Seen through the lens of a state, migrants were labelled with features and characteristics in order to categorize them into legal entities.  Although often forced by their environments and social contexts, migrants went through a process of empowerment in the past decades and started to see themselves less as victims of their contexts and circumstances but, rather, as autonomous agents.

The changing environments that forced people to move as well as the changing driving forces of the people themselves began to dissolve established legal categories and migration patterns became increasingly diversified or ‘mixed’. Migration caused by various kinds of serious human rights violations or armed conflicts may, however, overlap with other reasons. These reasons include poverty, environmental degradation, poor governance and increasing levels of corruption. Major static legal categories and their rationale became increasingly blurred, while at the same time people qualifying for international protection increased in numbers. Who counts as ‘migrant’ or as ‘refugee’ is once more on the political agendas and became a topos in heated public discourses.

Facing increasingly complex and diffused debates at political and public level, we seem to lose track and at the same time we might stand at a crossroads. Societies and political landscapes are changing. Newly constructed narratives seem to dominate the migration discourse and navigate parts of various social spheres producing new labels, categorizations and stigmatisations.

At this one-day international conference we would like to revisit these changing landscapes and contemplate future and alternative narratives. We aim to identify and discuss changing landscapes of migration categories, its developments and its potential challenges in the critical areas of climate change, poverty and hunger, and “illegality” of migration, while facing matters of reception as well as societal resonances.

After the keynote talk, and in the light of discursive shifts and present global issues discussed in a first panel, a second panel shall frame these discussions in the context of faith-based perspectives and interpretations posing the question of how to learn from such a cross-referencial inter- or trans-religious angle. A third panel shall subsequently discuss potential translations of such faith-based narratives into practice. Panellists will present on-going innovative projects and initiatives. These, and further emerging alternative narratives across all panels on which we can be prospectively build on, aim to critically question current regimes categorizing an stigmatizing human beings.

There is no conference fee but please register with us (please see email below). We are looking forward to welcoming you at our University.

Best wishes
Prof. Dr. Bastian A. Vollmer,
Catholic University Mainz
Please register at: khm2018[at]kh-mz(dot)de
For further inquiries, please email to: khm2018[at]kh-mz(dot)de

Full Conference Programdownload