As wealthy countries build walls to keep migrants out, countries in the Global South are celebrated for their hospitality towards refugees. Hosting States and Unsettled Guests asks the question: did these policies enable refugees to consider their new country home?

Beginning in 2016, Ethiopia promoted local integration, economic opportunities, and access to education for refugees in order to encourage them to stay long-term rather than migrate towards Europe. But by 2020 a political overhaul and the outbreak of war in Northern Ethiopia foreclosed these opportunities, particularly for Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia. How did Eritrean refugees envision their future in light of the discrepancy between promising policies and ongoing instability? Using ethnographic interviews and participant observation with government officials, NGOs, and refugees in three camps in northern Ethiopia and Addis Ababa, Jennifer Riggan and Amanda Poole explore refugee notions of progress, care, hope, and futurity. Caught at the intersection of teleological violence and temporal agency, refugees endure the present and tenaciously produce a sense of the future even when their efforts to progress are repeatedly challenged. An important read, Hosting States and Unsettled Guests makes key empirical and theoretical contributions in forced migration studies, East African studies, anthropology and international education. Riggan and Poole deftly shift the focus of refugee studies away from Europe to regions in the Global South to understand the violence of emerging forms of migration deterrence.

About the authors

​Prof. Dr. Jennifer Rigganis Professor and Director of International Studies in the Department of Historical and Political Studies at Arcadia University. She is the current Frank and Evelyn Steinbrucker '42 Endowed Chair and will hold the position during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years. She began teaching at Arcadia in 2007.  She is a political anthropologist whose ethnographic research focuses on political identities and state formation in Eritrea and Ethiopia. She has published on the changing relationship between citizenship and nationalism, the de-coupling of the nation and the state, and the relationship between militarization, education and development. Her current research explores the effects of new paradigms in global migration management on Ethiopian refugee policy and Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia. She is the author of The Struggling State: Nationalism, Mass Militarization and the Education of Eritrea (2016).  

Dr. Amanda Poole is an environmental anthropologist with international and domestic research experience on community-based resource management. Poole received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Washington. Her dissertation, "The Power of Place: Refugee Resettlement, Resource Management, and State Making in Lowlands Eritrea," is based on extensive fieldwork in Eritrea supported by the Social Science Research Council and other fellowships. She teaches courses on Africa, applied anthropology, ecological anthropology, and cultural theory. Poole has worked in both academic and applied settings, including serving as a consultant and field researcher with NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Practical information and registration

Date and Time: Thursday 14 March, 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM, online or on campus

Organised by: MIGLOBA and Hosted by: IOB