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Cornell University

Cartographies of Racial Justice Beyond Borders: Territories of Dispossession and Migration

  • Summer Institute: July 12–23, 2021
  • Applications due: May 14
  • Application form

What does a map of the future look like? This summer, we invite a cohort of 25 participants to engage in critical race theory, global migration studies, and speculative design to map the terrain of the future of global racial justice. The Migrations initiative and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies will host the inaugural Migrations summer institute, “Cartographies of Racial Justice Beyond Borders: Territories of Dispossession and Migration.” 

With a focus on borders as geopolitical constructs, we will collectively consider the long history of planetary human migration, the timeline of racial capitalism, and the requisite geographies of dispossession. Participants will be mentored, working in groups to create a speculative design digital atlas and podcast (no technical skills required). Inspired by the urgent work of critical geographers and afro-futurists, mapping racial justice will engage horizons of abolitionism, Indigenous futurisms, decoloniality, and Black feminisms. 

Themes will include decolonial cartography, queer ecologies, climate justice, immigration rights, digital borderlands, and global surveillance.

Overview

Open to advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early career scholars. We welcome applicants from fields including but not limited to critical geography, ecology, architecture, critical race theory, literary studies and criticism, history, philosophy, sociology, surveillance studies, and art history.

Participants are not required to reside in the U.S., but should demonstrate that their research focuses on some aspect of migration in the United States (alone or in comparison) in line with the objectives of Mellon Foundation’s Just Futures Initiative. While the summer institute has limited supplemental funding to invite individuals whose research or work is focused entirely outside of the United States, there will be fewer of these slots to offer.

Featuring lectures and workshops by leading scholars in critical race theory, geography, migration studies, and art, participants will:

  • Produce a collaborative digital map and podcast
  • Attend public humanities workshops
  • Get feedback and mentorship on a co-written curatorial essay from summer school faculty and participants
  • Dialogue with leading migration and racial justice experts through keynote and small group sessions
  • Curricular design on the relationship between racism, dispossession, and migration

Vision

Troubling the notion of the United States as a “nation of immigrants,” we will consider the contours of internal and external migration globally, forced and voluntary, across time and space. The European conquest of the Western hemisphere is an ongoing project of the dispossession of Native sovereignty entangled with African enslavement. In the contemporary moment, racism, dispossession, and migration are intertwined in the apparatus of modern-day deportations, which call into question the very definition of the border and long histories of border crossing. Human migration spurred by economic distress, climate crisis, political conflict, and militarism continues to shape the asymmetries of who has a right to the future. 

With generous support from The Mellon Foundation, this two-week institute centers migration studies as a multidisciplinary field of study and as heterogeneous movements that often reflect, respond to, or are shaped by racism, xenophobia, and violence. As a field, how does migration studies map and respond to this violence? What potential does migration studies hold for effectively documenting this violence and for mapping alternative possible futures?

We invite advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early career scholars who work on global migration in any discipline to join us for two weeks of study and collaboration dedicated to these questions and topics related to migration and racial justice across time periods and geographies.

Week One 

Week one includes lectures, roundtables, and workshops representing a range of disciplinary approaches to the study of migrations and its intersections with racism and dispossession. We will introduce collaborative tools for cartography projects as storytelling, podcasting, and curatorial writing. 

Week Two

During week two, participants will collaborate during studio time online to produce a digital map that responds to migration and dispossession and brings participants’ research and personal geographies into dialogue towards an exhibition for the virtual public. An audio component of the atlas will form a podcast to debut after the institute. 

Across both weeks, participants will have the opportunity to receive feedback from institute faculty and participants on work in progress (e.g., dissertation/book chapter, article).

Participants may come from any discipline and should be open to dialogue across fields and interested in communicating their academic work through pedagogical or public-facing projects.

To Apply

You will need to submit: 

  • An academic CV
  • Statement of intent in response to this call for applications (maximum two pages double spaced)
  • A thank you letter to a school of thought that informs your sense of intellectual community (maximum four pages double spaced) or an annotated bibliography listing five to ten sources with a few sentences about why the text is critical to your future work
  • Application form and upload
  • Applications due May 14

If you have questions, please contact Heike Michelsen.