Mahanirban Calcutta Research group


Migration and Forced Migration Studies with Particular Focus on South Asia and its European-Asian Dimension (2019-2021)

Concept Note

Migration and Forced Migration Studies with Particular Focus on South Asia and its European-Asian Dimension (2019-2021)

Audio Visual Materials 

The Covid 19 pandemic has ushered in an era which, even without it, appeared as building on its inheritance of displacement, discrimination and disparity. Yet, ours is also an era which inherited the idea that empathy isn’t alien to law, politics or to any field of knowledge or activity; that, in certain luminous moments, ‘hope and history rhyme.’ The unprecedented scale of forced displacement, its growing catalysts, and the distress darkening it present immediate challenges for migrants and marginalized people all over the world. The six lectures in this series by Mahanirban Calcutta research Group explore the conditions of migrants in the present day. They investigate issues of protection, vulnerability, neoliberalism, statelessness, international law and ethics.

Lecture 1: Global Protection of Refugees and Migrants with Emphasis on Protection in the Time of a Pandemic, Nasreen Chowdhory, University of Delhi, Delhi & CRG.

Migration, whether forced or voluntary, is rooted in mobility. Pandemic-induced lockdowns and border closures have created a politics of mobility which has revealed the protection offered by the state, despite being obligatory, as performative. This performative protection, premised on a differentiation of individuals as dispensable and indispensable, fails to reach migrants and refugees or address their specific vulnerabilities. The result is the entrenchment of exclusion, inequality, and the divide between citizen and non-citizen.

Lecture 2: Migrants and the Epidemic: Gender, Race, and other Vulnerabilities, Samata Biswas, The Sanskrit College and University, Kolkata & CRG.

The conditions of the ‘new normal’ take their lessons from the earlier, unequal ‘normal’. Deprivations emerging from the pandemic often have direct links to entrenched prejudices and inequalities in society. Viewing the present moment as bio-political, this discussion explores the intersection between migration and public health, and the governmental power which marginalises certain groups in the name of the whole.

Lecture 3: Neoliberalism, Migrant Worker and the Burden of the Epidemic: Few Observations, Arup K. Sen, Serampore College, Hooghly & CRG, Iman K. Mitra, Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida & CRG.

Four interconnected themes shape the operation of migrant labour in the present day – the specificity of the neoliberal labour regime, the dichotomy of formal and informal labour spaces, the projected association between informality and migration, and the impact of the pandemic on these conceptions. Conflicts emerging from fragmented forms of labour call for a reorientation of politics towards justice and collective responsibility.s

Lecture 4: Statelessness with Emphasis on De facto Statelessness and the Rightlessness of Sections of Population, Parivelan K. M., TISS, Mumbai & CRG.

The possession of a nationality is a fundamental human right. Situations of statelessness – de jure or de facto – violate this right, creating a near-total absence of protection, rights and formal identity. While statelessness on the whole has several complex and historical catalysts, the irony of in situ statelessness is all too often the result of nationality laws which do not stand the test of modern notions of justice

Lecture 5: Legal Regimes of Protection and the Time of the Pandemic, Oishik Sircar, Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat.

The distinct approaches to understanding international law – natural, positivist, critical, apocryphal – perceive international refugee law in distinct senses. Even as these approaches disagree on the meaning and force of international refugee law, they carry historical justifications as well as particular merits and demerits. How do these distinct lenses colour the practice of international protection?

Lecture 6: Ethics of Care, Public health, and the Migrants and Refugees, Paula Banerjee, University of Calcutta, Kolkata & CRG.

The phenomenon of forced displacement offers a fertile field for raising questions of ethics. On the question of providing international protection to the victims of forced displacement, the Global South faces ethical issues different from those faced by the Global North. The questions of care and justice in the Global South have been aggravated manifold by the pandemic.

  • City of Transit is the third documentary film in CRG series on Calcutta: Migrant City. Funded by Institute of Human Sciences, Vienna, this educational film addresses the role played by the transient workers, perishable goods and temporary people in marking and making Kolkata the city of transit.
    Concept Note  || Audio Visual Link


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