Netherlands, Nijmegen

Migrants, Refugees and Religion: Global & Comparative Perspectives

when 1 August 2016 - 5 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS

Migration, refugees, race, and religion are words which, when used together, evoke uneasy sentiments as can be seen in the rise of anti-immigration political parties in Europe. The recent surge of Middle-Eastern refugees into Europe laid bare these sentiments, oftentimes framed in terms of the hospitality-hostility debate. When viewed through the prism of race and religion, indeed, the debate becomes problematic. Slovakia expressed it wants to take Christian migrants only just as Australian politicians indicated they will prioritise Christian asylum seekers. The media highlighted the words of a Hungarian bishop: “They’re not refugees. This is an invasion . . . They come here with cries of Allahu Akbar. They want to take over.” Of course, there is the other narrative of ordinary Hungarians and other Europeans welcoming refugees and that of the thousands of Australians who participated in vigils in support of refugees.

Human mobility, particularly in contemporary times, comes with considerable challenges. Migrants and refugees, however, are not only sites of need; they also come bearing gifts. Indeed, the rhetoric and stories in the destination countries are not just about gloom and doom but also about promise and hope. This course will examine the multifaceted experience of migrants and refugees. Taking an interdisciplinary and global approach, it will explore the historical, sociological, legal, and political aspects of contemporary human mobility, in view of discussing philosophical, feminist, religious, biblical, and theological themes. Topics that will be engaged include: (1) the Rohingya Muslims in Asia; (2) Australia’s “turn back the boat” policy and outsourcing of responsibilities toward refugees to Papua New Guinea; (3) migrant workers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, with attention to gender; (4) Indonesian and/or Filipino migrants in the Netherlands; (5) undocumented Hispanic migrants in the United States and; (6) Muslim and Christian migrants and refugees from the Global South [Asia, Africa, Middle East] living in the Global North [Europe and North America] and their impact on local as well as global Christianity and Islam.

In view of the demographic shift within Christianity itself and the transformation of the cultural and religious fabric of receiving countries themselves, the constructive contribution of migrants and refugees will be foregrounded and advances made in the fields of intercultural and interreligious dialogue will be explored. Specifically, the phenomenon of “reverse mission” (where Christians from the South are now evangelizing Europe) will be discussed, highlighting the theology and praxis of those from the margins. The course will be run through lectures and engaging discussions, with a lot of group work, case studies, and viewing of short video clips and documentaries. It will also feature Dutch guest speakers on specific migrant communities and/or a field-trip to an asylum seeker center.

Course leader

Dr. G.T. Cruz
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Theology and Philosophy
Australian Catholic University

Target group

- Those interested in social issues surrounding migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
- Those engaged in ministries or social work among migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
- Those interested in learning about intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
- Those interested in issues of World Christianity and the global Church.
- Higher-degree research students will find this course especially valuable.

Entry level:
Advanced Bachelor

Course aim

After this course you are able to:
- Appreciate the challenges, struggles, dreams and successes that migrants, refugees and asylum seekers have in their countries of origin and destination.
- Explore the role and intersection of race and religion in relation to the experience of people on the move.
- Understand the importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue and relationship.

Fee info

EUR 0: The course fee includes the registration fee, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.

Possible discounts
• 10% discount for early bird applicants. The early bird deadline is 1 April 2015.
• 15% discount for students and PhD candidates from Radboud University and partner universities
EUR 195: Housing (optional)