Undocumented

‘Lost in Un-documented Existence’ in the Context of Stateless Rohingya

This essay is about how the politics of documentation impact the lives of stateless people, whose homes and sources of livelihood were eradicated in the homeland their ancestors lived in for decades and whose citizenship has been taken away or denied. Using evidence about the stateless Rohingya people, I will present how, historically, documentation and …

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Nowhere to Go: The Plight of Homeless Families in Sweden

A few years ago, I attended a meeting with a group of parents whose families were precariously housed and at risk of becoming homeless. They all lived in the same municipality in the greater Stockholm area of Sweden and were trying to mobilize around their families’ right to housing. A journalist from the local newspaper …

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Hmong Diaspora Placemaking as Cultural Refuge

Places provide a common sense of territorial identity for migrants, refugees, and diaspora communities despite these groups having roots elsewhere. The activities of these communities question how we think about place and the fixity of boundaries of ‘here’ and ‘there’, and what it means to dwell in place. A central theme of these experiences is …

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Seeking Belonging through Religious Conversion: The Plight of the Undocumented in Sweden

Why is belonging so important? How far is one willing to go to gain a sense of belonging, and what does it cost? How do those uprooted from their homeland find a sense of belonging in exile, and what sacrifices do they have to make? For many, religion provides a sence of belonging. Consider the …

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Is History Repeating Itself? The Russo-Ukrainian War, the Russo-Georgian War, and Eurasia’s Path Forward

As the stories about horrors in Ukraine grip international headlines, too much attention is focused on troop movement and scenes of military might, but not enough attention is paid to the internally displaced people and the humanitarian situation on the ground. I had seen Ms. Tinatin Japaridze, VP of Business Development for Critical Mass, give …

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The Rise and Fall of ‘Africatown’: A Brief History of the African Migrant Community in Guangzhou, China

The year is 2009. The location is Tangqi wholesale mall in Guangzhou, China. Little shops, some the size of storage units, line the mall’s breezeways selling cheap goods of dubious quality. The sound of tape ripping and snapping fills the air as the wholesalers begin to prepare their clothes for shipment back to their origin …

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Myanmar State Politics and Historical Contexts of the Stateless and Undocumented Rohingyas

Since 2017, over 800,000 Rohingyas have fled persecution based on contestations related to their ethnic identities and claims within Myanmar. Rohingyas are the second-largest group of stateless people who were forced to escape genocide in Myanmar. Fleeing over the country’s border, Rohingyas took shelter in crowded camps in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh (Sengupta 2019; …

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Documents of the Governed in Mumbai

“They (the government officials) make properly documented ‘ineligible’, find faults, and even undocumented ‘eligible’. We have to prove our eligibility. They make us realize the value of housing”, explained my interlocutor in India’s Mumbai. We live in an urban world. A recent United Nations report notes that 7 out of 10 urbanites are from developing …

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