Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh: "Shifting the Gaze: Southern-Led Humanitarian Responses to Displacement"
Webinar | January 21, 2021 Workshop | January 22, 2021
In this quarter keynote, Professor Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh from University College London discusses Middle Eastern refugee responses, including hosting, to the displacement of Syrian refugees since 2011. Her talk offers an overview of the roles played by local host communities, faith-based networks, Southern states including Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, and refugees themselves.
Displacement is primarily a "Southern" and "South-South" phenomenon, to which Southern actors have historically responded in ways that resist, reject and provide alternatives to the hegemonic aid regime. However, Southern-led responses to displacement have typically been rendered invisible, and are largely un-acknowledged by Northern- and Northern-based academics, policymakers and practitioners. Though scholarly study of Southern actors’ responses to displacement has recently increased, Northern academics and policy observers too frequently delegitimize the activities of Islamic faith-based organizations and “nontraditional” donor states, which are not members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait). In this presentation, Fiddian-Qasmiyeh focuses on responses to Syrian displacement since 2011 and develops a multiscalar analysis of the roles played by Southern states, local host communities, faith-based networks and refugees themselves. She argues that a focus on “refugee-refugee humanitarianism” can challenge dominant and exclusionary Northern humanitarianism paradigms of refugee studies.
About the speaker | Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is Professor of Migration and Refugee Studies and Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit at University College London, where she directs the Refuge in a Moving World interdisciplinary research network. She is author of several articles and books, and co-editor of Refuge in a Moving World: Tracing Refugee and Migrant Journeys Across Disciplines (UCL Press, 2020).
Moderators | Arzoo Osanloo, Cabeiri Robinson, Rawan Arar, Gözde Burcu Ege.
Co-Sponsors | Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Law, Societies, & Justice, and Middle East Center.
Keywords | Palestinian and Syrian refugees, multi-scalar approach, displacement, refugee-refugee relationality, refugee hosts, poetics of care, Middle East.