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Displacement Studies

Collage by Rachel Lin Weaver and the Alaska Native Village of Belkofski
Image Courtesy of Rachel Lin Weaver and the Alaska Native Village of Belkofski

Displacement studies is an emerging interdisciplinary field that examines processes of displacement and the structural systems that contribute to forced relocation. The field intersects with refugee and migration studies.

Displacement studies focuses on the ways in which humans experience processes of displacement, whether due to natural disaster, climate change, government-induced development, civil unrest, or eminent domain. The field also examines how these experiences are addressed — or not — in laws, policies, technologies, housing, and historical narratives about displacement. Finally, the field explores the intersections among related issues such as human rights, citizenship, statelessness, sovereignty, (national) security, housing, social services, and community health.

In recognition of displacement as a complex phenomenon, the Center for Refugee, Migrant, and Displacement Studies approaches the study of displacement by moving beyond disciplinary frameworks that focus on single issues and examining instead the complex, structural, and human rights issues related to forcible displacement.

The center places attention on broader infrastructures of power to examine displacement issues that require interdisciplinary approaches, including humanistic approaches that examine representations of these issues and how displacement affects the human condition.

Introduction to Displacement Studies

STS 2984/ENGL 2984/HIST 2984

Intro to Displacement Studies Spring 2023
Spring 2023 Introduction to Displacement Studies taught by Dr. Janine Joseph
  • Why do people become displaced from their homes and/or their countries?
  • What happens to them once they are displaced?
  • What's the difference between a refugee, a migrant, and an asylum-seeker?
  • How do technologies help or hinder social connection at and across borders and throughout the resettlement process?

This course will discuss these topics and many more.

Population displacement is one of the biggest issues facing the global community in the twenty-first century. This introductory course helps students understand the politics, practices, and processes of population displacement and the role that technologies play in shaping all of these. 

For more information, contact: Dr. Rebecca Hester, Department of Science, Technology and Society