Conable Conference in International Studies

Migration Crisis? What Crisis? Why Crisis?

Thinking, Framing, and Theorizing Mass Mobility in a Globalized Age

March 31 and April 1, 2016

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York

The Fifth Conable Conference in International and Global Studies will explore the conceptualization of contemporary global mass mobility as a “crisis.” What does it mean to frame human migration with sensational terminology, such as crisis? How does language often associated with intractable problems, such as humanitarian or environmental disasters, or political stalemates, shape the responses to rapidly expanding transnational human mobility?

The Conable Conference proposes to examine the nature of the “crisis,” the implications of framing migration as a “crisis,” and the history and present of “crisis” frameworks, management theories, and problem-solving. Employment of the “crisis” conceptualization is global in scope, but it is often applied regionally and nationally, such as the Australian response to refugee movements in the oceans north of the island-nation, the Mexico-US border, or the Mediterranean and Balkan overland routes into the Europe Union. Crisis language ushers in hasty responses, stimulates fraught political rhetoric, and resonates with persistent national and international political, economic, social, cultural, and religious tensions. But crisis language also mobilizes diverse resources, garners journalist and public attention, and instantiates emotional, moral, and ethical engagement.

Possible topics or themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Metaphors of crisis and disaster
  • Role of imagery, media, social media of mobility and crisis
  • Public Responses to human mobility
  • National and regional governmental responses
  • Role of NGOs and other non-state agents in migration management
  • History and present of mass mobility
  • Comparative analyses of humanitarian responses
  • Migration, borders, and border securitization
  • Nationality, citizenship, statelessness, documentation, and identity
  • Human rights rhetoric
  • Trafficking, smuggling, and migration syndicates
  • Migration, health, and disability
  • Coercion and exploitation
  • Gender and migration
  • Family, children, and migrant mobility

We welcome abstract submissions based on new unpublished research from any disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspective from scholars, professionals, activists, and critically engaged individuals. Abstracts of no more than one page or up to 500 words accompanied by two-page résumé of professional and/or scholarly background, should be submitted online by January 15, 2016 via the web portal. Conference registration is $30.00 USD. Decisions will be announced by email and on the conference website by January 31, 2016. Modest funding support for travel or accommodation may be available to those in need. Previous conferences have resulted in peer-reviewed publications.