Migrant Knowledges: Concepts, Voices, Spaces

April 20-21, 2018
Workshop at GHI West, UC Berkeley
Convener: GHI West, the Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington DC 

In 2017, the German Historical Institute (GHI) Washington DC opened a Pacific Regional Office on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. One of GHI West's aims is to invite interdisciplinary dialogue between history and neighboring fields to develop research on "migrant knowledges", a conceptual focus that brings together two seemingly disparate fields, migration studies and the history of knowledge. In its multi-faceted meaning, "migrant knowledges" points to the knowledge made and held by migrants, as well as to the knowledge of and for migrants. Last but not least, the notion brings epistemological aspects to the fore: Knowledge differs in kind and form across space, time, and cultures; it is both produced in specific (gendered and class-structured) contexts, and recurrently in transit, translated, forgotten, or questioned. With particular but not exclusive focus on the inter-area and interdisciplinary history of the Americas from the 19th to the 21st centuries, our workshop seeks to explore the possible methodologies, narratives, and empirics that facilitate a critical engagement with the concept of "migrant knowledges." 

The format of the workshop is interactive and seeks to engender exploratory debates within and among three consecutive roundtables. Each session is guided by three central questions to which scholars will prepare pre-circulated statements of one to three pages. Each roundtable speaker will have 10 minutes to present his or her ideas, based on the previously circulated statement of each participant. As the design of this workshop includes ample room for discussions, we encourage all speakers to participate actively in the discussions of the other roundtables as well. Invited commentators will conclude each session by reflecting on key points and raising questions for further inquiry (10 minutes).

We would like to thank our co-sponsors at UC Berkeley: