Race and place-making in the wake of refugee resettlement

Authors: Lauren Fritzsche*, Pennsylvania State University
Topics: Migration
Keywords: refugee, Islamophobia, racialization, place, identity, new destination
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper explores the contradictory politics of place and race in the wake of refugee resettlement in Missoula, Montana. As Missoula became a 'new destination' of refugee resettlement in the United States in August 2016, some Missoulians responded with protest that conflated refugees with a threat to the community-echoing national Islamophobic discourses-while others actively participated in welcoming refugees from Congo, Eritrea, Iraq, and Syria. Interviews with white residents suggest that local politics of place and race in the wake of refugee resettlement reflect contested engagements with white settler colonial narratives of place-both on the part of anti-refugee protesters and on the part of those that are welcoming refugees. Though a number of scholars have examined the intersection of refugee politics and Islamophobia at the national and global scales, few have explored how national discourses interact with local conceptions of place. I argue that unpacking the geographic specificity of refugee resettlement and the embodied struggles over Islamophobia reveals the intimate connections between place, identity, and racialization in the contemporary United States.

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