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Migration Series

The Cornell Institute for European Studies (CIES) Migration series, launched in AY 2017-2018, conceptualizes the migration of not only people, but also images, words, ideas, technologies, objects, information, and food. The series aims to unpack the historical and contemporary relevance of migration in writing global histories and understanding the present, as well as to put Europe in its global context. This will critically acknowledge European countries’ role in the history of modernization and colonization of other countries within and outside Europe, and disclose the region’s character as an immigrant continent and diaspora of various peoples.


Exhibiting Yugoslavia

April 26, 2018

The Balkans region has long been seen as only peripherally associated with the project of modernity, and the lands of the former Yugoslavia have been construed in Western art, literature, and culture as Europe’s internal “other”. However, in carefully considering Yugoslav architects’ production and networks of exchange between the years 1948 and 1980, a very different picture of the region emerges. Martino Stierli, the Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, talked about his upcoming exhibition on the topic. Rather than a secondary backwater of the modern world, Stierli situated socialist Yugoslavia at the forefront of the period’s international architectural discourse, due in large part to the country’s diverse associations with architects on both sides of the Iron Curtain as well as in Africa and the Middle East. In this sense, the country’s architectural culture can be seen as a laboratory of globalization that undermined Cold War-era dichotomies. Stierli’s presentation was followed by a response by Saša Begović, the founding partner of Croatian-based 3LHD Architects

Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC

Saša Begović, Senior Partner, 3LHD Architects, Zagreb, Croatia

Moderated by: Esra Akcan, Architecture and CIES, Cornell University

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Arts of the Immigrant Continent Poster

The Arts of the Immigrant Continent

April 12, 2018

A panel discussion which addressed Europe as an immigrant continent, and especially concentrated on the relation between immigration and art, by bringing together artists ​and scholars who work on diasporas and migrant art in major European cities.

Leslie A. Adelson, Department Chair & Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of German Studies, Cornell University

Martin Rein-Cano, Landscape Architect, TOPOTEK 1, Berlin, Germany

Pamela Corey, Lecturer in South East Asian Art, Department of History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts, University of London

Moderated by: Esra Akcan, Architecture and CIES, Cornell University

For more information

Video recording

Crossing the Mediterranean Poster

Crossing the Mediterranean: Migration, Death, and Culture

February 27, 2018

The International Organization of Migration reported that approximately 4000 migrants had died while trying to cross the ​Mediterranean Sea in the year of 2016, and approximately 3000 by the tenth month of 2017. This panel brought together an international group of scholars and journalists who spoke about the historical and contemporary traumatic experiences, such as deaths, accidents, colonization and forced migrations, suffered by those crossing the Mediterranean. Panelists exposed the extent of looted archeological objects across seas; discussed the violence of France’s spatial practices during the Algerian Revolution on both sides of the Mediterranean; ­ reflected on the main causes of people's drowning in recent years; and focused on the maritime arena as a mobile border that envelops migrants seeking to navigate structural injustices as well as ideological and violent conflicts.

Annetta Alexandridis, Associate Professor, History of Art and Visual Studies, Cornell University

Samia Henni, Lecturer, Architecture, Princeton University

John Psaropoulos, Independent Journalists, Athens

Maurizio Albahari, Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Notre Dame

Moderated by: Esra Akcan, Architecture and CIES, Cornell University

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FALL 2017

Outlawing Dissent: The Flight of Scholars to Europe

October 3, 2017

Kader Konuk, Chair, Institut für Turkistik, Universität Duisburg-Essen

Author of a seminal book on exiled scholars (Auerbach in particular) from Germany during National Socialism, and currently active with exiled scholars in Germany, as well as the founder of the Exile Academy, Kader Konuk addressed the historical and contemporary dimensions of violations of academic freedom. 

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Will this robot take my job?

October 18, 2017

Guy Hoffman, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Ronald R. Kline, Department of Science and Technology Studies; Ross A. Knepper, Department of Computer Science; Adam Seth Litwin, Labor Relations, Law, and History; Kirstin Hagelskjær Petersen, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Sasa Zivkovic, Department of Architecture

Anxieties over the issue of migration and hostility towards immigrants seem partly related to automation and fears of unemployment. The panel addressed the relationship between migration and technology (part of “Critically Now” series, AAP).

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Migration of Images

October 24, 2017

Avinoam Shalem, Columbia University;  Saloni Mathur, University of California at Los Angeles

While our age is often named as the visual century, the historical relevance of image migration is relatively under-studied. The “Migration of Images” panel brought together scholars who spoke to the visualization of Muhammad in art books throughout Europe across centuries, geopolitics of exhibiting paintings and objects, and Bauhaus in India.

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Video recording