Our first episode of ‘The Accidental Geographer,’ a bi-monthly podcast launching in late-October (2015), will have a special focus on migration. It comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of migrants are risking their lives attempting to find political asylum and economic sanctuary in Europe. For many of these so-called ‘boat people’, their often dangerous exodus will come to an end in poorly maintained migration camps located around the periphery of ‘Fortress Europe.’ Horrific images of the dead and dying have prompted an outcry from the public and have led to emergency measures being adopted by the European Union in response. But what if the ‘migration crisis’ is actually the new normal?
Climate change, conflict, natural disaster, and a global economic model that privileges mobility have all led to more than one billion people becoming migrants. A number that will continue to rise. None-the-less recent events have demonstrated that political barriers and boundaries are still prominent features of our global landscape. Barriers that are intentionally constructed to make migration a perilous affair for some, yet relatively easy for others.
The podcast will feature Prof. Thomas Nail, author of the new book ‘The Figure of the Migrant‘ and Alison Mountz, Professor of Geography and Canada Research Chair in Global Migration at Wilfred Laurier University. Join us as they share their important research and immerse us into the world of the migrant.
For the current academic year Professor Mountz is based at Harvard University, where she’s continuing her research that explores ‘the tension between the decisions, displacements, and desires that drive human migration.’ Her book ‘Seeking Asylum: Human Smuggling and Bureaucracy at the Border‘ was the recipient of the Association of American Geographers Meridian Book Prize in 2011. You can access a full list Professor Mountz’s publications here.
Professor Nail’s new work, ‘The Figure of the Migrant’ is provocative and timely. It places migration at the heart of the human condition and promises to fundamentally reshape our understanding of ‘the migrant’. You can download the first chapter of the book for free or click here to buy a print edition or download for kindle.