Invitation to research seminar on

Invitation to research seminar on "Transnationalism and Postmigration: An Encounter between Different Approaches to Migration and Society"

The seminar is open to employees and students at Aalborg University. The seminar will be held in English.


21.11.2017 kl. 09.45 - 16.30


Arguably, there is an outspoken need to develop new theoretical approaches and concepts in migration studies in order to describe the most recent tendencies in modern societies, such as the increasing diversity of populations and cultures, new forms of multiple belongings, heterogeneities of social attachments and new regimes of mobility. Among emerging theories, the two concepts of transnationalism and postmigration stand out. The concept of transnationalism seeks to overcome methodological nationalism and the new concept of postmigration seeks to ‘demigratize’ migration studies by shifting the focus from the ‘migrant’ to that of society itself as fundamentally shaped by migration. While the transnational approach is used in social science and anthropology, the concept of postmigration has also gained influence in the studies of cultural phenomena and the arts. In this interdisciplinary seminar, researchers from different scholarly fields will meet and discuss differences and interfaces of these recent developments in the study of migration.


09:30 – 09:45 Registration, coffee and tea 
09:45 – 10:00 Welcome and introduction / Mirjam Gebauer
10:00 – 10:40 Moritz Schramm: “Postmigration: An Introduction to a Developing Concept in Cultural and Social Studies"
10:40 – 11:20 Marlene Spanger: “Navigating through and around Danish migration legislation: Transnational mobility of Ukrainian labour migrants” 
11:20 – 11:30  Coffe and tea
11:30 – 12:10 Sabrina Vitting Seerup & Frauke Wiegand: “The Work of Cultural Institutions in the Postmigrant Condition: Diversity as Intrusion, Potential or Fact?”
12:10 – 13:10 Lunch
13:10 – 13:50 Asta Smedegaard Nielsen: “Campaigning for Love: Media Representations of Children and Parents in Cases of Family Reunification”
13:50 – 14:30 Anne Ring Petersen: “Making it Official: Commemorating Danish Colonialism in Public Space” 
14.30 – 15.00 Coffee and tea
15:00 – 15:40 Susi Meret: “Here to Stay: Refugee-led Activism and the Politics of Space in Germany” 
15:40 – 16:30  Concluding remarks (Mirjam Gebauer) and discussion

 All are welcome!


(More abstracts to come! Please visit this website again!)

Campaigning for Love: Media Representations of Children and Parents in Cases of Family Reunification

Asta Smedegaard Nielsen, PhD
Post doc, Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University

In 2000, a requirement of attachment was implemented into Danish law, aimed at regulating family reunification of spouses through an evaluation of the couple’s attachment to Denmark. Furthermore, since 2004, children’s applications for family reunification have also been assessed through the concept of attachment as a parameter of the child’s potential to integrate into Denmark. In my recently initiated postdoctoral project, I study media representations of cases of family reunification that have been assessed through these regulations. The aim is to investigate the specific forms in which media discourses on attachment fold subjects into, and out of, relations of love and belonging. The empirical material consists of personalized stories about individuals who have been denied family reunification on the grounds of the attachment requirement or the child’s potential to integrate, allowing for an investigation into the kinds of love relations that are represented as unjustly hindered by these regulations. The presentation will focus on my initial thematization of the empirical material, and the theoretical-analytical reflections it begs. The project forms part of a collective research project (LOVA), which investigates the concept of attachment as a new affective technology for the regulation of migration.

Postmigration: An Introduction to a Developing Concept in Cultural and Social Studies

Moritz Schramm
Associate Professor, Department of the Studies of Culture, University of Southern Denmark, Odense

In my paper I will try to give an introduction to the concept of ‘postmigration’. In particular, I will try to look back at the emergence of the influential label ‘postmigrant theater’ in Berlin around 2008, and the academic  reception of the term in the following years. The concept, I will show, challenges persistent categories and binary distinctions like migrant/non-migrant, staying/leaving, belonging/non-belonging with the insight in the overall plurality and complexity of life-stories in modern society. In the paper I will introduce concepts like the ‘postmigrant society’ (Naika Foroutan) and discuss the concept’s usability for migration and cultural studies. 

The Work of Cultural Institutions in the Postmigrant Condition: Diversity as Intrusion, Potential or Fact?

Sabrina Vitting Seerup
PhD fellow, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen 

Frauke Wiegand, PhD 
Post doc, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen 

This talk will discuss how cultural institutions in Copenhagen and Berlin work with diversity from a postmigrant perspective. Critical diversity, understood as the awareness of multiplictity and difference, encompassing a critical attitude towards structural discrimination, is a central feature of the postmigrant condition. This condition specifically points to the centrality of race as an underrated, misunderstood, ignored or even rejected category. What people and which ideas are behind the cultural work at art and cultural institutions like museums, film institutes and independent art spaces, and therefore have crucial positions in policy? How are Danish and German cultural institutions dealing with the fact that society has been and continues to be shaped by migration, the coming, residing and going of people with diverse backgrounds? Do they accept, appreciate and productively work with the fact of plurality? How do they react to the histories and roots of structural discrimination? Based on an investigation of different institutions’ discourses of diversity as they emerge through institutional texts, public debates and in research interviews, we will offer an overview of different forms of diversity work in Danish and German contexts. Diversity is unveiled to be approached in three different ways by cultural institutions, ranging from intrusion, to problem to fact. 

Making it Official: Commemorating Danish Colonialism in Public Space

Anne Ring Petersen, PhD 
Associate Professor, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen 

How can public art projects engage citizens in the societal transformations brought about by the intensified globalisation and immigration of the last fifty-odd years?  How can art articulate other perspectives on national history? How may art open a space for people of colour and a possibility for new narratives of belonging to be added to the ‘white’ history and public space of European countries? This paper explores a forthcoming project by Copenhagen-based artist Jeannette Ehlers in collaboration with St Croix-based artist La Vaughn Belle: their plans for and model of I Am Queen Mary, a memorial that will soon stand seven meters tall in the public space of central Copenhagen, commemorating ‘Queen Mary’, one of the black heroines of the revolts against Danish colonial rule in the West Indies. Adopting a combined postmigrant and postcolonial perspective, this paper examines how the artists intervene critically in Danish colonial history and national self-perception.

► Further information on the research project  “Art, Culture and Politics in the ‘Postmigrant Condition’”

► Further information on Center for the Study of Migration and Diversity (CoMID)


Research Project “Art, Culture and Politics in the ‘Postmigrant Condition’” and the Center for the Study of Migration and Diversity (CoMID)


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