Special Issue "Displacement and the Humanities: Manifestos from the Ancient to the Present"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Elena Isayev

Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 44 (0)1392 264200
Interests: human mobility and the constructions of place (2017); history through material remains; Lucania (2007); agency of the displaced; hospitality, asylum, refugeehood; ancient history and archaeology of pre-Imperial Italy; public and common space and architecture; inter-disciplinarity and inter-practice methodologies; ancient youth
Guest Editor
Mr. Evan Jewell

Department of Classical Studies, 826 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University, 1190 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: age and ageing in the Roman empire; Roman youth; Cicero; Roman political and cultural history; non-elite urban identities; Roman imperialism; ancient and modern ideologies and historiography; ancient somatology; Roman villa culture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Important and urgent studies on the subject of migration have increased substantially over the last decade in response to what has been termed the ‘migration crisis’. The issue is seemingly timeless, yet, the long term historical perspective shows just how ambivalent the category of migration is. What does it mean for human mobility to become a problem—a crisis? Usually the subject is addressed from either the perspective of the host or the home community, focusing on the impact of arrival or departure. Between these two points are those who are displaced, often for periods that last more than a generation—the current UN average duration of displacement is 25 years. For this reason we have chosen to focus on the critical issue of displacement. It is here broadly construed as both the involuntary movement of peoples from a place of belonging, whether due to forms of conflict, famine, persecution, or environmental disasters, and also the suspension of movement that leaves people existing without place. The more focused heuristic lens of displacement allows for cross-historical perspectives which do not risk conflating ‘migration’ with ‘refuge’ or ‘asylum’. It also allows for a discourse of place, space and territory—the shifting entities in relation to human belonging, statehood, mobility and control. It confronts the visibility and potency of displaced agency.

For this Special Issue, we therefore welcome contributions which seek to provoke a discourse within and beyond the field of Humanities, including the disciplines of Classics and Ancient History. Our intention is to create a dynamic collection using a dialogical platform with experts in the field, while ensuring a robust scholarly discourse. Hence, we have commissioned pieces of work from practitioners as catalysts, for each contributor to reflect on and engage with in preparing the paper. A scholar who uses a different approach will then be asked to respond to a paper. Through the stimulus by catalysts and respondents, the intention is to create dialogue across practices, disciplines and temporalities: from catalyst—to paper—to response. In so doing, we hope that it provokes future work—hence manifestos—not only in the historical and literary fields, but wider research and practice concerned with migration and refugeehood.

We particularly invite paper contributions which, at a theoretical and/or methodological level, aim to: remap the priorities for current research agendas; open up disciplines and critically analyse their approaches; address the socio-political responsibilities that we have as scholars and practitioners; provide an alternative site of discourse for contemporary concerns; and lastly, stimulate future interdisciplinary work and collaborations beyond the academy.

We invite submissions that treat the following thematic areas:

Volatile Concepts

  • How exceptional is the nature of mobility/displacement in the contemporary age?
  • When does mobility, or immobility, become part of the repertoire of virtue—a positive attribute?
  • Permanent transience and de-placement—still a ‘state of exception’?

Tangible Creations

  • Spaces of suspension: the city, the camp, detention centres and sanctuaries.
  • Materialities of displacement: objects, bodies, settlements, and traces.
  • The power, agency, innovation of those who are displaced.
  • Between hospitality and asylum—suppliant and guest.

Critical Approaches

  • Opportunities and dangers of comparative history in the context of displacement.
  • From representation to challenge: narratives of displacement in images and words.
  • Re-humanising the demography of displacement: people beyond numbers.
  • Responsibilities as scholars, and educators of the decision makers of the future.

Prof. Dr. Elena Isayev
Mr. Evan Jewell
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Recognizing the Delians Displaced after 167/6 BCE
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040091
Received: 13 August 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
In 167/6 BCE, the Roman senate granted a request from Athens to control the island of Delos. Subsequently, the Delians inhabiting the island were mandated to leave and an Athenian community was installed. Polybius, who records these events, tells us that the Delians
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In 167/6 BCE, the Roman senate granted a request from Athens to control the island of Delos. Subsequently, the Delians inhabiting the island were mandated to leave and an Athenian community was installed. Polybius, who records these events, tells us that the Delians left and resettled in Achaea in the Peloponnese. Scholars have tended to focus on Rome’s motivations for siding with the Athenians rather than on what happened to the Delians. Furthermore, translations have tended to use the broad terminology of ‘migration’ to describe the Delians’ movement. Comparatively, this contribution suggests that modern categories connected to ‘displacement’ can help us recover aspects of the Delians’ experience. Particularly, a shift to the vocabulary of ‘displacement’ highlights the creative agency of the Delians in holding the Athenians accountable for their expulsion and in seeking recognition from Rome of their integration into the Achaean state. The application of these modern categories necessitates reflection on differences in the political, institutional landscapes that have shaped the experience of displacement in the ancient Hellenistic and modern contexts, as well as on variations in experience amongst the Delians. Ultimately, recognizing what these individuals experienced within the evolving third-party arbitration system of the ancient world leads us to think about the indirect violence of expanding political institutions in ‘globalising’ worlds, both ancient and modern. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle It’s in the Water: Byzantine Borderlands and the Village War
Humanities 2018, 7(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030086
Received: 6 August 2018 / Accepted: 14 August 2018 / Published: 27 August 2018
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Abstract
This essay examines Byzantine military manuals created between the sixth to the tenth centuries for what they can reveal about Byzantine imperial attitudes toward the landscapes of war and those who inhabit them. Of foremost concern in these sources is the maintenance of
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This essay examines Byzantine military manuals created between the sixth to the tenth centuries for what they can reveal about Byzantine imperial attitudes toward the landscapes of war and those who inhabit them. Of foremost concern in these sources is the maintenance of ‘security’ (Greek: asphaleia) by commanders with the necessary quality of ‘experience’ (Greek: peira). Experience meant knowing how to best exploit the land, including the villages under Byzantine authority, in the prosecution of war. Exploitation in the name of security involved destroying villages, using villages and their inhabitants in ambushes, poisoning and seizing crops, evacuating villages, and using villages for the billeting of, at times undisciplined, soldiers. Villages were thus central to a Byzantine military strategy that is identified here as the ‘village war,’ a strategy that is analogous to security strategies evident in more recent conflicts. Through the juxtaposition of premodern and modern modalities of war, this essay intends to be a pointed reminder that the village war has deep roots in imperialist thought, and that the consequences of the village war profoundly reshape the lives of those caught up in its midst, particularly the peasantry. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Citizenship as Barrier and Opportunity for Ancient Greek and Modern Refugees
Humanities 2018, 7(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030072
Received: 24 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Abstract
Some dominant traditions in Refugee Studies have stressed the barrier which state citizenship presents to the displaced. Some have condemned citizenship altogether as a mechanism and ideology for excluding the weak (G. Agamben). Others have seen citizenship as an acute problem for displaced
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Some dominant traditions in Refugee Studies have stressed the barrier which state citizenship presents to the displaced. Some have condemned citizenship altogether as a mechanism and ideology for excluding the weak (G. Agamben). Others have seen citizenship as an acute problem for displaced people in conditions, like those of the modern world, where the habitable world is comprehensively settled by states capable of defending their territory and organised in accordance with interstate norms, which leaves very limited space for the foundation of new communities with their own meaningful citizenship (H. Arendt). This paper engages with these prominent approaches, but also with more recent arguments that, when handled and adapted in the right way, the practices and ideology of citizenship also present opportunities for the displaced to form their own meaningful communities, exercise collective agency, and secure rights. It is argued that the evidence from ancient Greece shows that ancient Greek citizenship, an early forerunner of modern models of citizenship, could be imaginatively harnessed and adapted by displaced people and groups, in order to form effective and sometimes innovative political communities in exile, even after opportunities to found new city-states from scratch became quite rare (after c. 500 BC). Some relevant displaced groups experimented with more open and cosmopolitan styles of civic interaction and ideology in their improvised quasi-civic communities. The different kinds of ancient Greek informal ‘polis-in-exile’ can bring a new perspective on the wider debates and initiatives concerning refugee political agency and organisation in the ‘provocations’ in this special issue. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Sharing Histories: Teaching and Learning from Displaced Youth in Greece
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020053
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 13 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
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Abstract
This paper reflects upon my experiences teaching and learning from displaced youth in Greece over a period of eight months in 2017. Following a brief examination of the current challenges in accessing formal education, I examine non-formal education initiatives, summarizing my work with
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This paper reflects upon my experiences teaching and learning from displaced youth in Greece over a period of eight months in 2017. Following a brief examination of the current challenges in accessing formal education, I examine non-formal education initiatives, summarizing my work with two NGOs in Athens and Chios where I taught lessons in English on ancient Greek art, archaeology, history, and literature. In offering these lessons, my hope was to do more than simply improve students’ language skills or deposit information: I wanted to examine the past to reflect upon the present, exploring themes of migration, forced displacement, and human belonging. Moreover, I wanted to engage students in meaningful connection, to the past and to the present, to one and to others, as a means of building community in and beyond the classroom, at a time when many were feeling alienated and isolated. This paper, therefore, outlines the transformational, liberating learning that took place, citing ancient evidence of displacement and unpacking modern responses by those currently displaced. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Learning from Past Displacements?1 The History of Migrations between Historical Specificity, Presentism and Fractured Continuities
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020036
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Reading Derrida in Tehran: Between an Open Door and an Empty Sofreh
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7010021
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract
We can only begin to grasp hospitality as we enact it and yet, in the moment of enactment, hospitality eludes us. In this paper I look at the enactment of hospitality in the relationship between Iranian citizen-hosts and Afghan refugee-guests in the Islamic
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We can only begin to grasp hospitality as we enact it and yet, in the moment of enactment, hospitality eludes us. In this paper I look at the enactment of hospitality in the relationship between Iranian citizen-hosts and Afghan refugee-guests in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in order to reflect more broadly on questions of Derridean hospitality. Moving between the theoretical and the ethnographic, I forcefully bring to bear on a situation of protracted refugee displacement, a notion of hospitality that has, to a large extent, remained abstract and unanchored. The scalar shifts between the domestic and the national (so integral to Derrida’s theorising of the hospitable), are here reproduced in an examination of Iranian hospitality that simultaneously considers the juridical framework of asylum in the Islamic Republic and the domestic or homely expression of welcome, that occurs in the ushering of the guest over the threshold and the sharing of food around the sofreh. Full article

Other

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Open AccessFeature PaperCreative A Narrative of Resistance: A Brief History of the Dandara Community, Brazil
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030070
Received: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
This paper presents a brief report on the history of the Dandara Occupation, in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Through a general panorama of the strategies and resistance of the residents and movements involved; this paper shows the importance of the occupied
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This paper presents a brief report on the history of the Dandara Occupation, in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Through a general panorama of the strategies and resistance of the residents and movements involved; this paper shows the importance of the occupied territory in the struggle for the right to housing in the city. Through the narratives of the residents, references and photographic remnants of the initial years of the occupation, a temporal line is developed to the present day that reveals the challenges and opportunities for the people of Dandara in the making of their community. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCreative Private Citizenship: Real Estate Practice in Palestine
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030068
Received: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 15 August 2017 / Published: 31 August 2017
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Abstract
What is the function of the new towns and real estate developments in Palestine?[...] Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperCreative Refugee Heritage. Part III Justification for Inscription
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030066
Received: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 29 August 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2085 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to inscribe a site in the World Heritage list, the property should have outstanding universal values, defined as “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future
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In order to inscribe a site in the World Heritage list, the property should have outstanding universal values, defined as “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.[...] Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCreative On the Slab, Our Architecture under Construction
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030062
Received: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 17 August 2017
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Abstract
The 1950s and 60s was marked by the developmentalism, industrialization, and modernization of peripheral capitalism of Brazil and by the demographic explosion and unprecedented urban expansion in the country. Throughout these decades, São Paulo became the political, cultural, and economic epicenter of Brazil,
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The 1950s and 60s was marked by the developmentalism, industrialization, and modernization of peripheral capitalism of Brazil and by the demographic explosion and unprecedented urban expansion in the country. Throughout these decades, São Paulo became the political, cultural, and economic epicenter of Brazil, Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCreative Uncovering Culture and Identity in Refugee Camps
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030061
Received: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 16 August 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1608 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Refugee camps, especially in their emergency phases, are places where everything seems to be similar, repetitive, and modular. This impression is not only due to the unified shelter unit that is usually distributed by UNHCR1 (traditionally a tent, and recently caravans, prefabs, and
[...] Read more.
Refugee camps, especially in their emergency phases, are places where everything seems to be similar, repetitive, and modular. This impression is not only due to the unified shelter unit that is usually distributed by UNHCR1 (traditionally a tent, and recently caravans, prefabs, and developed T-Shelters), but is also due to the camps’ ordered layout and hierarchical plan (Figures 1–3).[...] Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCreative ‘Space of Refuge’: Negotiating Space with Refugees Inside the Palestinian Camp
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030060
Received: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 16 August 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4405 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
‘Space of Refuge’ is a spatial installation directly addressing issues of inhabitation within Palestinian refugee camps in different host countries. It does so by illustrating the various modes of spatial production and subsequent evolution of Palestinian refugee camps, with particular focus upon unofficial
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‘Space of Refuge’ is a spatial installation directly addressing issues of inhabitation within Palestinian refugee camps in different host countries. It does so by illustrating the various modes of spatial production and subsequent evolution of Palestinian refugee camps, with particular focus upon unofficial acts of “spatial violation” that have emerged because of the increasingly protracted nature of the refugee situation. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCreative Collaborations on the Edge
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030059
Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
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Abstract
Since 2005 I have been working with mobile communities in the cities of Berlin, Germany and Johannesburg, South Africa.[...] Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCreative Quantum Notes on Classic Places
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030054
Received: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 31 July 2017
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Abstract
I would like to sing about an unstable, yet constant force that stresses and pushes imagination. It makes cultural and social transformations a process to experience in person. [...] Full article
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