Symposium – Islamophobia: Race, Religion, Liberalism

Organised by the Institut national de la recherche scientifique
29 October, 2015

From October 29 to November 1, 2015, Denise Helly (INRS), Michael Nafi (John Abbott College), Valérie Amiraux et Patrice Brodeur (Université de Montréal) invite you to join them for an international symposium on islamophobia.

The symposium will be inaugurated on October 29 at 7:00 pm with a keynote presentation by the renowned French journalist, documentary-maker and activist Ms. Rokhaya Diallo, in room 1120 of the Pavillon de la Faculté de l’Aménagement, Université de Montréal, 2940 Côte-Ste-Catherine road.

Within a particularly tense climate on this issue in Quebec, this interdisciplinary conference will probe the nature and foundations of islamophobia. What is islamophobia precisely? Is it a rejection of immigrants from Arab countries, the expression of anti-Muslim sentiment, a form of essentialism, a cultural racism echoing 19th-century antisemitism, or a new manifestation of Western racism? Is it the hatred of religion, faith dogma or a broad animosity towards pious subjects whose continued presence in Western democracies challenges the postulates of modernity and political liberalism? Does islamophobia stem from misconceptions of social and political conflicts in Muslim countries, misconceptions that are sustained by pseudo-academic orientalism and inadequate media coverage?

Read Post


Book Launch: Social Statistics and Ethnic Diversity

Cross-National Perspectives in Classifications and Identity Politics
16 October, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015
Seminar – 2PM; Cocktail – 3PM
At the QICSS office – Université de Montréal (3535, Queen-Mary road, room 420)

The QICSS and the Département de démographie of Université de Montréal with the collaboration of Ceetum and the Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, are pleased to invite you to a seminar and launch of a book resulting from a QICSS International Conference: Social Statistics and Ethnics: Cross-National Perspectives in Classifications and Identity.

The book will be presented by Patrick Simon, socio-demographer at Institut national d’études démographiques de Paris, et Victor Piché, retired professor from the Département de démographie de l’UdeM and research associate of the Oppenheimer Chair.


  Slavery memorial in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photograph: Jeffery DelViscio/Flickr (Creative Commons).

The Fictive Coherence of Global Struggle: Combating ‘Modern-Day Slavery’ in Rhetoric and Practice (video posted)

Professor Joel Quirk
28 September, 2015

28 september 2015, 12:30-14:00
Burnside Hall, Room 107 (via video-conference), 805 Sherbrooke W

A Slavery Old and New Talk with Professor Joel Quirk, University of the Witwatersrand.

Combating human trafficking has been widely presented as a cohesive and singular global cause, which builds upon the noble work of ‘modern-day abolitionists’ seeking to finally end slavery once and for all. The main argument of this paper is that this popular rhetoric of shared global struggle is both highly misleading and politically problematic. In its current incarnation, ‘the cause’ of ending human trafficking and ‘modern-day slavery’ brings together two major elements: i) an increasingly dense regime of law and policy which is universal in scope yet shallow and selective when it comes to effective application, and ii) a diverse portfolio of more substantive political interventions which tend to heavily concentrate upon specific locations and industries. These case-specific interventions often have little or no direct connection to parallel interventions taking place in other parts of the world. There may well be broad similarities in the types of abuses which occur in different contexts and countries, but a great deal of a creative aggregation and extrapolation is required in order to translate broad similarities into the language of a singular and cohesive global cause. Once we puncture this fictive coherence, it quickly becomes clear that there is not one global anti-trafficking or anti-slavery movement, but many different movements and actors with different agendas and interests, most of which primarily focus upon specific issues and/or localised concerns. In stark contrast to historical campaigns to end legal slavery, which were firmly aimed at the profits and privileges of the rich and powerful, most of these interventions only rarely pose a direct threat to major political and economic interests, which is ultimately a key source of their appeal.

Read Post

  Rohingya migrants swim to collect food supplies dropped by a Thai army helicopter. Photograph: Christophe Archambault, AFP/ Getty Images

Seminar: ‘Australia as a Regional Player in Refugee Protection in South East Asia: Framing the Issues’

with Susan Kneebone
21 September, 2015

NCDH Room 316, McGill Faculty of Law (3644 Peel Street, Montreal)
Monday, September 21, 12:00 – 1:00 PM

In this talk, Professor Susan Kneebone will explain Australia’s recent role in regional refugee protection within both bilateral and multilateral processes, through the lens of ‘labelling’ or construction of identities, in order to expose the political dynamics at play. It will focus in particular on Australia’s relationship with Indonesia, and responses to the recent crisis of Rohingya migrants in the Indian Ocean.

Picture of Susan Kneebone
Prof. Susan Kneebone

Professor Kneebone is a Professorial Fellow, Faculty of Law, University Melbourne and Secretary, International Association for the Study of Forced Migration. In 2013 she established the Asia Pacific Forced Migration Network with the support of the Refugee Research Network, York University, Canada. Formerly Professor, Faculty of Law, Monash University, she introduced research and teaching on refugee law and human trafficking issues. Her recent research, funded by ARC grants, focuses on issues around governance of forced migration issues in South East Asia. She is the author of many articles including ‘The Bali Process and Global Refugee Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region’ (2014) 27 (No4) Journal of Refugee Studies 596 and author \ editor of the following recent books:

  • Refugee Protection and the Role of Law: Conflicting Identities (Routledge, 2014) (edited with Dallal Stevens and Loretta Baldassar)
  • Transnational Crime and Human Rights: Responses to Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Subregion (Routledge 2012) (with Julie Debeljak)