CfP: Graduate Symposium

Deadline: 30.03.2020

We are pleased to invite abstract submissions for the "Everyday Spaces of Encounter and Migrant Participation in Urban Life" Graduate Symposium, which will take place on the 15th June 2020 at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

Everyday Spaces of Encounter and Migrant Participation in Urban Life 

15th June 2020

VENUE: Rewley House, Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford

The symposium aims to create a discussion forum between doctoral students, early-career researchers and non-academic practitioners interested in issues of migration, with a particular focus on belonging, identity, participation and interaction within the city. The symposium is purposefully inter- and multi-disciplinary, hoping to bring together researchers from many disciplines to look at closely related topics and allow for integrating knowledge and methods from one discipline to another. Therefore, the symposium welcomes contributions from development studies, human geography, urban studies, sociology, education, anthropology and beyond.

Since the 1990s, scholars from sociology, geography, and political philosophy among other disciplines have noted that public spaces in cities have become increasingly inhospitable to the distinct ‘other’, debating whether the spatial component of interaction between strangers is (in)capable of mediating social and cultural dissimilarities (cf. Sennett, Amin, Massey, Appadurai and others). This symposium aims to unpack concepts of encounter and interaction with others in the hope of building pathways between disciplines and approaches. Within this context, daily life becomes a point of enquiry and a practical challenge. Looking at everyday spaces and the quotidian as a sphere of interaction, managing diversity, contestations of identity and belonging that emerge as key concepts are as conflicted as the situations they tend to describe.

The symposium will explore these tensions by considering the following questions:

  • Where, why and how are ‘meaningful’ everyday interactions and encounters taking place between migrants and ‘established’ inhabitants of cities?
  • How do gendered, age-related or linguistic dynamics impact on these encounters?
  • What is the role of translocal networks and ‘transient spaces’ in encouraging participation?
  •  How do migrants themselves define, shape and appropriate space?
  • What is the role of the nation-state, the local government and grassroots organisations in facilitating the inclusion and integration of migrants in host communities?
  • What is the role of identity and belonging in migrants’ participation in urban life?
  •  How are migration and urban studies scholars incorporating innovative and/or reflexive methods to study these questions?
  •  How can interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches both shape the field of migration and urban studies and promote migrants’ participation in the city?

The symposium will feature a keynote presentation by Dr. Susanne Wessendorf (LSE), two thematic panels, a series of methods mini-workshops and a panel discussion. Each thematic panel will feature four contributions selected from among received abstracts.

Deadline for submission: midnight 30th March 2020 (GMT)

To be presented on: 15th June 2020

We welcome participants to submit proposals responding to one more of the above questions consisting of a title and abstract up to 300 words to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject ‘Graduate Symposium’ by midnight 30th March 2020 (GMT).

We are also planning to prepare a Special Issue of full papers on the basis of selected presentations. Please let us know when submitting your abstract if you are interested in being included in this effort.

Abstracts will be reviewed by the symposium organisers, and decisions will be communicated by mid-April 2020.

Logistics: The symposium will be hosted by the Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House, Wellington Square, Oxford. The event is free of charge, and lunch and coffee will be provided. The symposium has received financial support from the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership. Please note that no financial support for travel or accommodation is available for participants.

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