Racializing refugees: Islamophobia, place, and translocal assemblages

Authors: Lauren Fritzsche*, University of Arizona - Geography & Development, Eden Kinkaid, University of Arizona
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Migration, Social Theory
Keywords: Assemblage, feminist geopolitics, Islamophobia, racialization, refugees, place
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 36
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this presentation, we use assemblage thinking to draw together scholarship on the geographies of Islamophobia and feminist geopolitics to illuminate how the racialization of refugees is both situated in place and linked to translocal discourses and imaginaries. We approach Islamophobia as a “racializing assemblage” that marks both Muslim and non-Muslim refugees as a threat to national security and the integrity of particular places and landscapes. Drawing from fieldwork on refugee resettlement in Missoula, Montana, and building on a wider body of interdisciplinary scholarship, we show how the racialization of refugees is intimately connected to imaginaries of place while also informed by broader political contexts and discourses. Understanding these geographic transmutations of Islamophobic discourse through the lens of assemblage thinking provides an analytical handle for understanding the translocal nature of the racialization of refugees, while allowing for a complex account of the interconnected roles of discourse, embodiment, and place in processes and experiences of racialization.

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