Researchers, projects and centres at St Andrews in relation to forced migration and/or (forced) migrants.

Dr Toman Barsbai Reader, School of Economics

My research interests are in development, political economy, and culture, with a focus on (i) the causes and consequences of international migration and (ii) the origins and economic implications of preferences and norms around the world. I combine experimental and observational micro-level data, which I collect in the field or archives.

Together with the government of the Philippines, I am currently running a randomized control trial to assess the effectiveness of various policies to improve the working conditions of migrant workers (domestic helpers from the Philippines who work in Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong).

Dr Emma Bond Senior Lecturer, School of Modern Languages

I am primarily interested in the transnational circulation of people, texts, and – increasingly – of objects and cultural artifacts. I have published widely on contemporary migration. My new monograph, Writing Migration through the Body (2018), builds a study of the body as a mutable site for negotiating and articulating the transnational experience of mobility. At its core stands a selection of recent migration stories in Italian, placed into dialogue with related material from cultural studies and the visual arts. Drawing on phenomenology, anthropology, human geography and memory studies, it explores the ways in which the skin itself operates as a border, and brings to the surface the processes by which a sense of place and self are communicated through the migrant body.

Constantin Eckner PhD Candidate, School of History

Project Title: Rhetorics of Asylum in Germany and Europe

The ‘refugee crisis’ has kept Germany and Europe in suspense since the summer of 2015. Controversial arguments about potential legislative reactions to a vast influx of asylum seekers have dominated the political debate, led to a strengthening of right-wing players, and influenced the outcome of elections. The phenomenon of the past few years is not a novelty, however. Germany already experienced a political polarisation caused by what was then called Asyldebatte (asylum debate) during the 1980s and 1990s. Just like today, political actors ramped up their rhetoric and drifted into radical territory. The dispute almost paralysed German politics for a while, and it took years to resolve the issue with a legislative compromise tightening the constitutional right to asylum. Lawmakers in neighbouring countries such as France and the Netherlands reacted quite similarly. One of the main objectives of this PhD project is to prove that the asylum debate during the era of Chancellor Helmut Kohl was marked by the bipolarity between those who argued in favour of national interests and the preservation of national identity and wealth and those who argued on the basis of morality and human rights standards. That bipolarity is also represented in other political debates but nowhere as distinct as in those about immigration and asylum policy.

Dr Huw Halstead Research Fellow, School of History

Project Title: Greeks without Greece: migration, memory, and belonging in the Mediterranean

Since 2009, I have been researching identity and the uses of the past amongst displaced communities in Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey. My monograph Greeks without Greece (Routledge, 2019) focuses on the experiences of Greek-speaking Orthodox Christians who left Istanbul and Imbros (Gökçeada) between c. 1950 and 1980 and settled in Greece. Discriminated against in Turkey on the basis of their ethnic and religious identity, these expatriates received a lukewarm reception in Greece from a government and populace who viewed them with suspicion due to their Turkish birthplace. I demonstrate that the Greeks of Turkey respond to these challenges to their legitimacy as members of the national community by drawing on the past to emphasise rather than downplay the particularities of their local heritages. I have elsewhere published on how the Greeks of Istanbul claim descent from Byzantium as a means of differentiating themselves from the inhabitants of Greece whilst also affirming that they themselves are particularly Greek (Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 2014); on shifting representations of Turks/Turkey and Greeks/Greece in Istanbul Greek and Greek Cypriot oral testimonies (Modern Greek Studies, 2014); and on the use of transcultural cross-referencing by Greek expatriate memory activists (History & Memory, 2018). I am also interested in return migration, and my work on the Greek return to Imbros was featured on the BBC World Service’s Outlook programme in 2013.

Dr Dina Iordonova, Professor, Department of Film Studies

My research interests are in global (and particularly non-Western) film cultures, transnational cinema, and global film circulation. I have also published extensively on Eastern European and Balkan cinema. In my work, I investigate film history in its socio-historical and mediatic context, paying particular attention to issues of comparative critical analysis of cross-cultural representation, cultural sensibilities and diverse identities. I also have an interest in migration and its representation. I co-authored a book (with colleagues Dr Leshu Torchin and Dr William Brown)  in 2010, Moving People, Moving Images: Cinema and Trafficking in the New Europe, which deals with the representation of migrations in European cinema. I am currently working on projects that are related to the representation of Roma in film, which also means representation of refugees/ migrant groups.

Dr Fiona McCallum Guiney, Senior Lecturer, School of International Relations

Dr Fiona McCallum Guiney is Senior Lecturer in the School of International Relations. She is trained as a political scientist and is a specialist on Middle Eastern Christianity. Dr McCallum Guiney led an interdisciplinary project entitled ‘Defining and Identifying Middle Eastern Christian Communities in Europe’ (DIMECCE) 2013-16. With partners from Denmark, Poland and Belgium, the project was awarded a grant of 785,851 Euros from the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA). Using the case studies of the Coptic Orthodox, Assyrians/Syriacs and Iraqi Christians in the UK, Denmark and Sweden, the project explored the internal dynamics of these communities, engagement with wider society and transnational interactions especially with Middle Eastern countries. The project team worked with government agencies and non-state actors working with migrants and refugees. For more information, see the project website.

Dr Stavroula Pipyrou, Lecturer, Social Anthropology

Stavroula Pipyrou is a Social Anthropologists working on minority politics, particularly among the Grecanici – a Greek linguistic minority in South Italy who trace their roots back to antiquity . Her monograph “The Grecanici of Southern Italy: Governance, Violence, and Minority Politics (2016) is the first Anglophone study of the minority. She pioneered a theory of “Fearless Governance” that describes overlapping and contradictory systems of power and authority that enable the Grecanici to achieve political representation through the EU and UNESCO, state policy, civic associations and family networks. Leading from her interest in how political anthropology captures the lived-experience of minorities, she has completed an innovative mixed-method project on the long-term impacts of child displacement in South Italy. After floods in 1951/53, children were deliberately displaced by organisations on both the Left and the Right to other parts of Italy. This story, largely absent from Italian history textbooks, has led to an influential theory of how violence is inherent in humanitarian processes. In subsequent publications, she argues that silences associated with child-displacement are directly related to Cold War politics in Italy and beyond and build the political structure of the European project. Stavroula is the founding director of the Center for Minorities Research.

Matthew Porges PhD Candidate, Social Anthropology

Project Title: Nomads, Refugees, and the State in Mauritania and Western Sahara

This project explores the relationship between state power and nomadic pastoralism in the corridor of Saharan space between the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, and northern Mauritania’s pasturelands and market towns. Categories such as “nomad” and “refugee” can be challenged and elaborated in their relationship to expressions of state power, manifested in border crossings, market regulation, and intelligence collection. Implications will be drawn for a wider range of authorities than are traditionally considered under state/society binaries, including UNHCR and transnational security actors.

Dr Natasha Saunders, Associate Lecturer, School of International Relations

My research sits at the intersection of global politics and political theory, focusing on contemporary social and political thought as a framework for analysing pressing global issues. I have a particular interest in forced migration, human rights, and citizenship. My current research is concentrated in two related issue areas: Border politics and protest: examining the protest movements and activism of irregularised migrants, with a particular focus on rights- and responsibility-claims made by protesting migrants. Civil disobedience, responsibility, and border politics: citizen activism in relation to immigration controls, with a particular focus on conceptions of citizenship and belonging manifested by such action.

My new research project Refugee and Asyulm Seeker Activism in Scotland: 1999 to Present, is funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, and explores the extent and nature of refugee and asylum seeker activism since the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 established Scotland as a key dispersal zone for individuals seeking protection in the UK.

The Center for Minorities Research (CMR)

The Center for Minorities Research  is an interdisciplinary platform that examines how axes of class, race/ethnicity, gender, generation, nationality, religion, and sexuality work together to inform the experiences of minorities. Cutting across disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, the CMR pursues applied research on the political and social struggles of minority groups, the economic and labour market consequences of increasing diversity, and the governance and management of minorities. Understanding multicultural futures will be a central concern for governments, international organisations, academic institutions, and the general public in the coming years. The CMR provides a platform for sustainable research, networking and impact activities and a forum for outreach discussion that gets to the heart of complex questions concerning minority representation.