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Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

In 2003, the school began one of the first interdisciplinary MA programmes in Migration and Diaspora Studies in the country, and in 2007, the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies was established in order to co-ordinate activities across the school and establish collaborative links with other institutions both nationally and internationally.

The Centre aims to foster and promote a supportive research and teaching environment for scholars concerned with issues of migration and diaspora, drawing on the skills and expertise of academics situated in disciplines such as anthropology, history, development studies, politics, religion, music and art history. The Centre covers not only the traditional SOAS heartlands of Asia and Africa, but also issues of migration and diaspora in Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.

The IFRC World Disasters Report for 2012 is focused on forced migration and displacement. The speakers were Roger Zetter, editor of the World Disasters Report, Katy Long of LSE and Tom Hamilton-Shaw of the British Red Cross, Chaired by Dr Laura Hammond. Roger Zetter (Professor Emeritus from RSC) will outline some of the challenges in preparing the report; discuss the aims, aspirations and thinking behind the report; and highlight significant content in the report - key themes will include, vulnerability and protection, the urbanisation of displacement, development induced displacement, and reframing humanitarian conditions as development challenges.

A lecture by Chris Whitehead from Newcastle University, hosted by Paru Raman.

This paper, emerging from the ‘Museums in an Age of Migrations’ (MeLa) project funded by the European Commission (, focuses on representations of migrant experiences in European museums, considering themes such as homeland, dislocation, struggle, adaptation and cultural tradition. Adapting place identity theories, I consider the complex politics involved in the representation of migrants in ‘receiving states’, involving, on one hand, the impulse to recognise and historicise the presence of migrants and diaspora groups in centres like London, Amsterdam or Berlin and, on the other, the conferral of identity on the ‘host’ country (e.g. as multicultural, liberal, tolerant etc.).

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies Seminar Series

Too Much, too Young? The Conceptualisation and Representation of Children and Young People Seeking Asylum in the UK. Seminar presented by Heaven Crawley (Swansea University).
This seminar explores the experiences of separated asylum-seeking children and considers the implications of dominant understandings of ‘childhood’ for the ways in which the children’s experiences of persecution and violence are interpreted in the UK asylum system.

Recorded at SOAS, University of London on 27-2-2013

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies Seminar Series.

Exclusive Religious Identities and Shared Spiritual Cosmologies in the British South Asian Diaspora, presented by Virinder Kalra from the University of Manchester. This seminar was recorded at SOAS, University of London on 20th February 2013.

A lecture by Alexander Aleinikoff, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) organised by the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS on the 5th December 2012.

Mr. Aleinikoff discusses our 'responsibility to solve' the on-going global refugee crisis, with particular reference to the Dadaab refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya, the largest camp in the world, hosting more than 450,000 refugees.

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies