LECTURE | Migrations in Time and Space | Irena Šumi: Migrations on the Periphery – Slovenia and Immigrants
19 December 2018 | 18:00


Migrations in Time and Space


In recent years, Discussions about migrations have been marked by the so-called refugee crisis as the media have dubbed the more numerous than usual border crossings in 2015. The word migration thus conjures up images of endless caravans of people from the Middle East, the militarized responses of the EU states, and social polarization and the rise of hate groups. Migrations have become a synonym for an emergency situation. The point of view that presents the mass migrations of 2015 as an extraordinary natural disaster that states must control by all means deflects from a true understanding of this multilayered process. Mass migrations of people from region to another have a complex history and are inextricably entwined with global economic processes that equally affect the local populations and the migrants.


Phenomena such as the migrations of refuges in 2015 are hard to process without understanding the origins of our borders, what this meant for the population and in what way also the inhabitants of Slovenia are included in the global processes of migration. The “Migrations in Time and Space” series of lectures will focus on the regional conditions in the areas near the borders and try to put the local history of the immigration and emigration of Slovenes in the global context.



Wednesday, 19 December 2018, at 6 p.m.

Irena Šumi

Migrations on the Periphery – Slovenia and Immigrants

On such varied topics as political representatives, the labor force, or the national basketball team, the public discourse in Slovenia is seeing a resurgent emphasis on the “national extraction” of the citizens of Slovenia. Frequently used in such debates are the elusive notion of ethnicity “by blood” and the image of an imaginary people that has always inhabited this region, dreaming of its own state. This need for a quickly constituted national awareness has unfortunately clouded the actual history of the region, greatly marked in terms of culture, politics, and economy by migration currents over the past centuries. Anthropologist Irena Šumi, PhD, will focus on the historical topics of how the population of present-day Slovenia was constituted, what role immigrations played in this, and how the recent diaspores were framed.


The first lecture forms part of celebrations of the 1st anniversary of Kantina and is part of the events organized on the International Migrants’ Day.


The lectures are organised as a part of New Mappings of Europe project.  New Mappings of Europe is a two-year collaborative project of four different art and cultural institutions from Serbia, Slovenia, Austria and the United Kingdom, which will generate knowledge about the migrants' cultural heritage in Europe and make cultural and art institutions more accessible to local communities of migrants of the first and second generations as well as to the new communities of asylum seekers and refugees. The project will consist of co-curated exhibitions, accompanied by a rich public mediation programme, artist residencies, a common web platform, and an international conference. The aim of the project is twofold: on the one hand to deal with past phenomena related to migrations, and on the other, to link these phenomena to current migrations. In order to do so successfully, it is necessary to collaborate on a transnational level.


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