Migration Mini-Conference

Pushing the Boundaries of Migration Studies: 
Perspectives from the U.S. and France

May 5, 2014, Harvard University, Boston



 DPDF Program Alumni Initiative, Social Science Research Council
Transnational Studies Initiative, Harvard University

Download the conference program here.

Conference Overview

The Transnational Studies Initiative at Harvard University will host a meeting of established and emerging Migration Studies scholars from French and U.S. universities for a one-day mini-conference on May 5, 2014. The objectives of this conference are to: 1) Present faculty and student research that is pushing the theoretical boundaries of Migration Studies in the U.S. and France; 2) Hold roundtable discussions that help emerging scholars specify how their research projects contribute to these theoretical developments; 3) Establish a trans-Atlantic network of junior scholars in Migration Studies. Students, post-docs, and faculty in Migration Studies are invited to join over 20 DPDF Program alumni from U.S. and French universities for this event.

Call for Student Presenters

Theorizing in Migration Studies has taken innovative turns in recent years to keep pace with the rising number and changing patterns of international migrations. Scholars in the French tradition have proposed transnational governance, cross border assemblages, and migratory circulation, among other concepts, as lenses onto rapid flows of people, information, money and cultural goods across borders. In the U.S., focus has turned to critical investigation of the usefulness of conventional paradigms such as immigration assimilation and incorporation for capturing the experiences of contemporary immigrant populations, which have high proportions of undocumented and unprotected workers and families. Globally, established scholars have proposed conceptual shifts in the Migration Studies Field through concepts such as social transformation and global social protection, which aim to capture relationships between migration and the fundamental structures of societies and cultures.

We invite presentations that connect with these and other theoretical innovations, by demonstrating how new (or new understandings of historical) international migrations are pushing the boundaries of U.S. and French Migration Studies. We are interested in presentations that are empirically grounded, and offer thorough theoretical de- and reconstructions. What theoretical tools can account for the new sites, actors, and scales of migration activity? How can concepts from the French and U.S. traditions be translated and merged to build innovative theories, and to more accurately represent the changing contexts of international migration? What methodological innovations and adaptations can be made to improve the ways researchers link the realities of international migrations and flows to emergent theoretical frameworks? Papers should address these or closely related questions. Presentations that pertain to all geographical and historical contexts are welcome.

Submissions process

Please submit an abstract of approximately 300 words explaining how your paper addresses the panel theme. Abstracts should include details about the theoretical contribution, study methodology, and central findings of the paper. Presenters should also include their institutional affiliation, a short description of their current stage in their scholarly career, and e-mail address. Please submit abstracts by March 21, 2014 to Kathleen Sexsmith at kjs256@cornell.edu. All applicants will be notified the week of March 24 of the status of their application. 

Conference Structure

Panel presentations by faculty and students will be held from 9am to 12:30pm. Faculty from Harvard University, Boston College, Boston University, and Tufts University will host roundtable discussions on emergent paradigms for studying International Migration and Transnationalism from 2pm to 4pm. Participation is free of charge, but please write to Kathleen Sexsmith (kjs256@cornell.edu) to register, and to stay informed of the afternoon roundtable schedule.

Thank you and we hope to meet you in Boston!

Pushing the Boundaries of Migration Studies organizing team:

Kathleen Sexsmith (Cornell University, kjs256@cornell.edu)
Nancy Khalil (Harvard University, nkhalil@fas.harvard.edu)
Evren Yalaz (Rutgers University, yalaz@eden.rutgers.edu)
Sadio Soukouna (Sorbonne, sadiosoukouna@gmail.com)
Peggy Levitt (Wellesley College & Harvard University, plevitt@wellesley.edu)
Thomas LaCroix (University of Poitiers, MIGRINTER, thomas.lacroix@univ-poitiers.edu)