Catherine Besteman F'12
ACLS Fellowship Program 2012
An Unexpected Life: Somalis, Mainers, and the New Global Normal
This project analyzes the philosophical, literary, and political origins of the concept of refuge as well as the contemporary cultural and symbolic dimensions of the way refuge is imagined by displaced Somalis and the communities to which they go in order to advance a new understanding of refugee agency from the perspective of those who move. The study engages intellectual and theoretical questions about how the imaginings and materialities of refuge impact the construction of difference as well as novel forms of connection. It demonstrates how an insistent focus on human experience and agency at the center of the international refugee regime transforms our understanding of international humanitarianism as well as the construction of global subjectivities.