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Lecture | CMGI Brown Bag Seminar

History matters in current and future refugee governance in Jordan and Iraqi Kurdistan

Monday 20 November 2023
CMGI Brown Bag Seminars 2023-2024
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference room (2.60)

For the last 10 years, I have been doing ethnographic research on digital connectivity and the everyday realities of becoming and being a refugee, first in Jordan and then in North-Iraq. In this presentation I reflect on how the ways in which refugee governance has taken shape within these geographical spaces builds on their situated short- and longer-term histories. The ways in which Iraqi refugees, fleeing because of the widespread violence resulting from the 2003 US-led invasion, were received was very much shaped by Jordan’s earlier experiences of hosting Palestine refugees. And the lessons that humanitarian actors subsequently drew were incremental to the later response of Syrian refugees. In Iraqi Kurdistan, governmental agreements which had established the KRI as autonomous federal state in 2005, allowed for - upon the start of the war in Syria in 2011 - the institutionalization of refugee reception of particularly fellow Kurdish nationals. In both places, (neo)colonial legacies interact with the involvement of, often western, humanitarian actors and further shape temporal hospitality. Empirical examples from both countries however also show how people living in these places, make sense, make do and challenge these ‘containment’ practices through the journeys of others who became refugees prior to them.

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