On November 9th and 10th Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut (ABI) hosted the fourth annual meeting of Cross Area e.V. for Transregional Studies, Comparative Area Studies and Global Studies in Freiburg. For the first time, the conference focused on a specific topic: migration, mobility and forced displacement.
In their preliminary remarks chairman Matthias Middell and Andreas Mehler, director of ABI and co-chairman of Cross Area e.V., both outlined the necessity to counteract methodological nationalism and regionalism and thus emphasized the importance of cross area research. Presentations included an outline of methodological challenges on a cross-area comparative project (Heidrun Bohnet, BICC) as well as epistemological considerations when studying migrants´ journeys (Anna Lipphardt, Freiburg University). Conceptually, a new project on the study of migration policies (both immigrant and emigrant) in Latin America and Asia was presented (Luicy Pedroza, GIGA), as well as the difference between the rhetoric and practice of European and African migration policies (Franzisca Zanker, ABI). Empirically, the precarity of both the host and refugee communities in the Jordanian-Syrian-Borderland was outlined (André Bank, GIGA). These findings and thoughts were contextualized in discussions and a roundtable discussing the conceptual boundaries of transregionalism and the methodological challenges.