January 20, 2017 was a sad day for my country of citizenship, the United States. I don’t have to tell most people why. Indeed, the outpourings of sympathy and concern from many parts of the world since then have been deeply encouraging, even where the rose of condolence is not without thorns.
In early 2016, the Greek village of Idomeni became a symbol of the inadequacy of European Refugee Policy. Over 12,000 people, 40% of them children, were living in the tent village bordering Macedonia, on their way to Central Europe. Additional refugees were camping at gas stations or in open fields, exposed to cold, rainy and windy weather. In May that same year, the camp was cleared, and Greek officials assured that the situation for refugees would improve. Soon after, images from Idomeni disappeared from the media.
Was the situation for the migrants really improved following the clearing of the Idomeni camp? This was the question that inspired Lukas Taufer and Niclas Hallman to go to the region in August 2016. The following article was written by Niclas Hallman, shortly before he tragically passed away in September 2016.*
Like the Kyrgyz traders in the photo above, area specialists face entanglements and should occasionally take stock of their wares. Where is the balance between theory production and deep knowledge of specific places? How far do the imperialist legacies of knowledge production on areas reach? On what basis can lines of abstract thought be developed from grounded research?
In a recent contribution to Political Geography, building on a workshop at Oxford entitled “Geographies of ‘Area’: politics, places and disciplines”, ten geographers address these and other questions underpinning the rethinking of area studies. As each of the co-authors tells his or her story, a productive and engaging cacophony emerges.
Film Review: “In the Lap of the Mountains: The Irrigation Systems of Ladakh’s Farming Communities” directed and produced by Joe Hill and edited by Pat Nehls
Based on an intense study of irrigation in Ladakh, in northern India, Joe Hill’s simple yet striking documentary film shows the long-standing traditions and recent fluidity of lifestyles of the people of a farming village called Karchay Khar.
Motivations, patterns and consequences of internal migration in Ghana are the focus of Stephen Adaawen’s research on spatial mobility and social transformation. Following his Crossroads Lecture at ZEF in February 2016, the Crossroads Asia Team spoke to him about his findings.
In stillness rests truth
art is born when nothing remains
cell phones distract because – – and then – – and you –
Iraqi-Swiss filmmaker Samir (Samira Jamal Aldin) takes the viewers of his 2014 film ‘Iraqi Odyssey’ (2h 43m) on a journey around the world and through the 20th century, following the trajectories of the members of his diasporic family: aunts and uncles, nephews and siblings who have left Iraq and now live scattered in all corners of the world.
Why do conflict dynamics differ greatly between distinct but close locations, despite their exposure to similar stimuli?
Reflections on a Crossroads Asia Lecture by Aksana Ismailbekova (Zentrum Moderner Orient) and Baktygul Karimova (University of Zürich) in December 2015. Photo of a mosque in Osh, Kyrgyzstan © Joe Hill.
The reshaping of borders and identities beyond traditional spatial containers in Gilgit-Baltistan is the focus of Aziz Ali Dad’s research with Crossroads Asia. How does the making and contesting of identities transgress borders economically, geopolitically and culturally?
How do “entanglements” help us conceptualize and explore phenomena such as power relations and flows, the creation and legitimization of narratives and the production of spaces?
Impressions from the Politics of Entanglement in the Americas Conference, held between June 25-27, 2015 at Bielefeld University.