IASFM 14: ‘Contested Spaces & Cartographic Challenges’


The 14th Conference of the International Association for Studies in Forced Migration (IASFM) will be hosted by Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group, Kolkata, India, January 6-9, 2013. This is the first time that this conference is being hosted in South Asia.  

  • Conference Concept

The nature and character of migration, particularly ‘forced' migration, today is different from that in previous decades. But while this is not a new observation, it has not been acknowledged in such a manner, because of what underlined the refugee regime and what regulated the management and protection of refugees. This has been underscored by migratory patterns in much of the colonial world (read, Africa and Asia, for instance) as against the European context. The UN however, acknowledged this by noting in its 10 Point Plan of Action that migration is characterised by mixed movements. Even then, the underlying institutions that aimed at securing the rights of refugees in the last few decades did not change. Refugees continued to be those that fled political persecution leaving a large number of people who fled due to other factors outside the legal definition and thus protection regime. Second, internal displacement gained prominence as a category of rights bearing subjects but the role of UN institutions was curtailed or expanded depending on the state that produced the internally displaced. Thus, even though forced by circumstances, government policies or government inaction/impunity, internally displaced persons were not accorded the same kind of protection that refugees were. Thus it is not uncommon for internally displaced persons to call themselves refugees even while they are within the physical borders of the state. 

IASFM 14 proposes to highlight the unique features of the new reality by focusing on the relevant experiences of strategies of protection of victims of forced migration, particularly in the post-colonial world.

The conference will be divided into three broad themes:

  1. Borders and Displacement

  2. Geography and Economies of Displacement

  3. Rights, Ethics, and Institutions

The conference programme will be divided into three business sessions comprising panels. Each day of the conference will have plenary and film screening sessions

1.     Plenary Abstracts

2.     Plenary Speakers