SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Syrians In Exile

Charlotte Loris-Rodionoff, Maria Kaistrinou, and Razan Ghazzawi

Date: 22 February 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 22 February 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G52

Type of Event: Seminar

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Charlotte Loris-Rodionoff, Dr Maria Kaistrinou, and Razan Ghazzawi Syrians In Exile

Charlotte Loris-Rodionoff—Being a ‘guest’ in Turkey: everyday life, legal status and future horizons

Syrians have been given the official status of ‘guest’ rather than ‘refugee’ by the Turkish state. This unique status forces them to navigate the unwritten rules of ‘state hospitality’ in contrast to the internationally-defined legal status they would receive would they have been classed as refugees. Based on 18 months fieldwork in the city of Gaziantep, this presentation will engage ethnographically with how being ‘guests’ affects Syrians’ futures and everyday lives. It will ask, what are the effects of state policies and legal status on Syrians’ approach to the present and future? And how are Syrians’ intimate and family life affected as they construct a community in exile and a sense of dwelling in Turkey?

Maria Kaistrinou—Hospitality in Refuge: Syrian journeys in Greece

Having escaped a brutal war, the hungry Poseidon of the Aegean sea, and looking towards an uncertain future in Europe, Syrian refugees in Greece find themselves liminally suspended between a tragedy they have just escaped, and the hope for safety. However, entrapped in and around EU ‘Hotspots,’ they must endure police detentions, antiterrorism interrogations, and rely on the kindness of strangers and charities for the fulfilment of their most basic human rights. To recount their journeys, experiences, and hopes, instead of focussing on victimhood and tragedy alone, this presentation explores Syrian stories of dignity, and practices of survival and resistance through hospitality. Specifically, it analyses how, through the Syrian cultural idiom of karam, Syrian refugees attempt to maintain a degree of their own agency, humanity and dignity, in the face of incredible adversity and uncertainty.

Razan Ghazzawi

This presentation examines how the global north asylum regimes have increasingly regulated the mass influx of Syrian refugees according to their perceived levels of “dangerousness” to national security. Specifically, it examines how gender and sexuality are mobilised to distinguish between relatively “harmless” and potentially “dangerous” refugees. It explores how discourses of nation-states’ security and sovereignty are mobilized in disavowing Syrian heterosexual Muslim male bodies as both “dangerous” and “unimportant” hence are left to die, while simultaneously saving Syrian women, Christians, and queer refugees as the preferred prospective citizens whose existence is said not to violate the sovereignty of nation-states in the West.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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