The ongoing global pandemic, that has halted mobility globally and on an unprecedented scale, offers an interesting vantage for probing how and why people move. The past century witnessed the large-scale dispersal of populations across the world as a result of major political upheavals such as war and decolonization. Adjacently, increased capital flows and new technologies of trade, travel, communication and intervention accelerated the movement of people, commodities, ideas and cultures across the world. Mobility is regarded not as a singular phenomenon, but historically varied, heterogeneous and unequal. The transnational mobility of people may be the result of forced or voluntary migration, of self-exile or expulsion. Our present circumstances also compel attention to what happens when infrastructures of mobility are severely disrupted.
In this course, we examine forms of mobility and dislocation as they appear under various conceptual and political contexts - such as migration, exile, trade, tourism, pilgrimage, refuge and humanitarianism. While guided by ethnographic analysis, our studies will be in conversation with explorations of mobility in disciplines like history, political theory, postcolonial studies and human geography. Furthermore, the anthropology of mobility entails a reflexive aspect, since travel and movement enabled by particular political economies have formed the basis for producing ethnographic knowledge.
Drawing on these perspectives, we explore mobilities under the following inter-related thematic heads:
(i) As a lens to understand the fraught relation between national and global commitments, the home and the world.
(ii)Relate past forms of movement with contemporary technologies of travel and communication, and how they reflect long histories of race and ethnicity.
(iii) Consider mobility as method in the production of anthropology and other forms of scientific knowledge
(iv) Study how global hierarchies are reflected in the flows and obstructions of labour, commodities and knowledge in the present.