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Transitional Nomads: The Connected Lives of Somali Refugees

Cindy Horst, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo

Monday, October 20, 2008
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
10th floor
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

From 1995, research amongst Somali refugees has taken Horst from the Netherlands to Kenya, from Minneapolis to Norway, and now, finally, to Somalia. In this presentation, she will illustrate the relevance of a transnational approach when studying aspects of refugee lives; even in remote places like regional refugee camps. Refugee camps are commonly seen as isolated places in borderlands, but her research shows how inaccurate this image is. When camps are studied as bounded units, researchers remain blind to the fact that these camps are connected to a wide variety of places through flows of remittances, images, goods and people. Refugees in the Dadaab camps of northeastern Kenya move between the camps and Nairobi or Kismayo; they receive remittances from Johannesburg and Minneapolis; and communicate with relatives in Cairo and London. Furthermore, visions of these different places reach Dadaab for example through Bollywood movies, Somali theatre plays and pop songs dubbed in Columbus or Toronto, brochures from distant Universities and pictures of relatives and friends in faraway places. Horst will select one of these examples to illustrate the importance of studying how the lives of Somali refugees in different places across the world are connected transnationally, and what implications this has on their local lives.

Cindy Horst works as a Senior Researcher at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). Horst is a social anthropologist with a specialization in Forced Migration Studies and extensive fieldwork experience among Somalis in Kenya and the wider diaspora. Her research interests include assistance practices, cultures of migration and transnational networks.

Cost : Free and open to the public

African StudiesCenter

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center

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