SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

CANCELLED: On the Threshold of Statelessness: Palestinian narratives of loss and erasure

Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (UCL)

Date: 16 March 2016Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 16 March 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G52

Type of Event: Seminar


This seminar examines how Palestinians living in France, Sweden and the UK negotiate, mobilise and/or resist, and ultimately problematise, notions of statelessness as a concept and as a marker of identity. Centralising Palestinians’ conceptualisations in this manner – including accounts which directly challenge academics’ and policy-makers’ definitions of the problem of, and solution to, statelessness - is particularly important given that statelessness emerges as both a condition and a label which erase the ability to speak, and be heard. The article draws on the narratives of 46 Palestinians to examine perceptions of statelessness as a marker of rightlessess, home(land)lessness and voicelessness. It then explores statelessness through the paradigm of the ‘threshold’, reflecting both on interviewees’ ambiguity towards this label, status and condition, and the extent to which even Palestinians who hold citizenship remain ‘on the threshold of statelessness’. It concludes by reflecting on interviewees’ rejection of a label which is imposed upon them ‘from a distance’ via bureaucratic processes which reproduce, rather than redress, processes of erasure and dispossession.

About the speaker

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is Lecturer in Human Geography, Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit, and the coordinator of the Refuge in a Moving World research network at University College London. Her research examines experiences of, and responses to, conflict-induced displacement and statelessness with a particular focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Her recent publications include The Ideal Refugees: Gender, Islam and the Sahrawi Politics of Survival (Syracuse University Press, 2014), The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (Oxford University Press, 2014), and South-South Educational Migration, Humanitarianism and Development: Views from the Caribbean, North Africa and the Middle East (Routledge, 2015).

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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