AàC – Welcoming displaced scholars : between soft power diplomacy, solidarity and policy making. Policy discourse and critical policy research (26, 27 et 28 juin 2019, Montréal)

  • Chair : Pascale Laborier (Paris Nanterre/ISP/UPL), Asli Vatansever (Berlin/RE:WORK), Esmeray YOGUN (Paris CNAM)
  • Deadline : 30 janvier 2019

CALL FOR PAPER : This panel is dedicated to the analysis of the development of historical, sociological, political and economic approaches both in public policies and private initiatives for supporting refugees and displaced scientists.   Our purpose is to stimulate an exchange of ideas on the issue of displaced academics on a historical, theoretical as well as public policy-level. Offering a multidisciplinary platform for discussion, this panel aims to analyze the conditions on the policy and practical level, as well as the causes and consequences of various challenges currently facing endangered scholars. It aims at contributing to the discourse on displaced academics on several interrelated levels. All paper proposals welcome that reflect a wide variety of perspectives on endangered scholars and practice, especially those that deal with theoretical and practical issues. This panel seeks to stimulate an exchange of ideas on the issue of displaced academics on a historical, theoretical as well as public policy-level local or national. For this purpose, we encourage paper proposals exploring the limits of the existing coping mechanisms such as the short-termed philanthropic initiatives or at-risk-fellowship grants to endangered scholars. Research questions in this panel include but are not limited to the following topics: 

  • Forced academic migration in historical perspectiveo  Limits and opportunities of the existing rescue mechanisms for endangered scholars
  • The issue of academic migration from the view of the academic labor markets in the receiving countries 
  • Possible results of academic migration for the future of knowledge production and academic exchangeo  The challenges on the policy-level
  • Discussion of integration policies of the EU and other host countries (Are those host countries prepared enough to channel the highly skilled labor force they are receiving into their innovative sectors?)
  • Comparative integration policies in and out of EUThe main task of the panel consists to discuss the methods and the concepts of a political sociology perspective on the policy process.
  • All papers which can contribute theoretically, methodologically or empirically to this approach are welcome. 
  • Submission of papers that reflect a wide array of approaches to the solutions existing or in progress and potential perspectives to address the welcoming of endangered scholars will also be encouraged.

GENERAL OBJECTIVES, RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND SCIENTIFIC RELEVANCE : This panel is dedicated to the analysis of the development of historical, sociological, political and economic approaches both in public policies and private initiatives for supporting refugees and displaced scientists. Threats against the occupational and personal safety of dissident scholars occur with alarming frequency and in an increasing number of countries: violence to scholars, students (Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Thailand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia); massive dismissal of dissident scholars (Turkey); violent repression of organized student movements on a global scale; travel bans on scholars and students in several countries.In the face of the sudden influx, international organizations such as the New York-based Scholars at Risk Network (SAR), the Scholar Rescue Fund of the International Institute of Education (IIE-SRF), the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) in the UK, the PAUSE program (National program for the urgent aid and reception of scientists in exile) in France, the Philipp-Schwartz-Initiative of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation in Germany, and a number of individual philanthropic foundations try to cope with these challenges by offering short-term fellowship grants to displaced academics (Hagemann et al. 2017). These public or private modes of resistance are embedded in the history of the twentieth century and the struggles against totalitarianism (Tournès 2017). They were developed as strategies to protect people from persecution, to fight against authoritarian regimes, to work for peace through science, or to defend intellectual freedom. However, the outcomes of such efforts depend on the historical configuration of involved actors and public policies to a great extent. For example, the ‘émigrés’ scholars in the United States have generated a constant flow of work fueling a victorious history of science fed by these migrations (Fermi L. 1968; Jeanpierre 2004) and impact the international relations field (Rösch 2014). However, the current scale of the challenge compels the scientific community and the policy-makers to rethink the competences of the host institutions as well as its compatibility with conventional labels such as ‘exile’, ‘at risk’, or ‘endangered’ scholars. Partial attempts at offering short-term solutions via soft diplomacy do not seem to provide an effective coping strategy with the current situation. The role of ‘programmatic’ actors structured around policy change proposals (Hassenteufel 2010) could be related to political legitimacy (Laborier 2010). The massive inflow of academic immigration poses challenges on the scientific, structural, and institutional levels. The academic labor markets face congestion, the host institutions face administrative overburden, the emigrated academics face occupational and existential insecurity and precariousness (Rahman 2018). Thus, these situations need  for a longer term actions, which are backed by adequate public policies. This panel aims at providing an insight into the migratory flows and ‘rescue’ policies concerning ‘Endangered Scholars’ in a systematic or comparative perspective.

This multidisciplinary panel seeks to analyze the practical conditions and policies, the causes and consequences of the various challenges endangered scholars are currently facing. In a pragmatic approach of public policies (Zittoun 2014), our starting point is to understanding how the basic premise idea of scholar refugees as a ‘problem’ (Gatrell 2013) poses a series of questioning about forced migration and how this impacts the perception and hosting of displaced academics and contribute to the cross fertilization in science (Sapiro, 2006). The panel is also aiming at expanding the general line about displaced academics at several interrelated levels. First, the panel will examine whether the apparent decline role of democracy and its effects on the academic freedom (Fernando 1989), the rise of authoritarianism, and some governmental activities against scholars and higher education institutions. Second, the panel will invite new and radical proposals to make more visible and disseminate the endangered scholar’s policy issues at the global, national and international levels. Third, the seminar will bring leading and promising scholars including those in exile, to interact with policy makers to create a dynamic and fruitful debate that bridges theory and practice to build a sustainable acceptable environment for endangered scholars (Vatansever 2018). We expect to attract papers from academics with a diverse set of expertise or experience on forced migration, endangered scholars, or about scientific freedom, demography, ethics, etc. We will open it for a large integration input, ranging from the humanities and social sciences, to human rights. To this end, submission of papers that reflect a wide array of approaches to the solutions existing or in progress and potential perspectives to address the welcoming of endangered scholars will be encouraged.


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