EUME Berliner Seminar
Wed 18 Jan 2023 | 17:00–18:30

The Politics of Forced Migration in the East of Europe

Lidia Kuzemska (Prisma Ukraïna Fellow 2022/23) in conversation with Nil Mutluer (Universität Leipzig / EUME Fellow 2022/23)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

The panel discussion on The Politics of Forced Migration in the East of Europe will be introducd by input talks addressing the following topics:

Lidia Kuzemska: »‘Don’t Be Afraid of Our Citizens’: The Politics of Electoral Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons in Ukraine (2014-2021)«
The aberrant status of IDPs in-between citizens and migrants makes them an important case to understand how any kind of migration – even within the internationally recognized borders of the state for justified reasons – can make migrants a ‘problematic’ population for the state. IDPs remain citizens of their countries, yet their political rights are often suspended or limited by the government for a short or extended period. Looking at the case of 1.4mln Ukrainian IDPs during 2014-2021, I analyse why were the political rights of internally displaced citizens suspended so rapidly (within days), whereas their full restoration took years? Based on ethnographic fieldwork (2015-2016) and follow-up research up to date, I argue that Ukrainian IDPs who fled the Russo-Ukrainian war in the Donbas and the occupation of the Crimean Peninsula were initially considered a potential threat to the national security of Ukraine and were conveniently excluded from the pool of voters. It took five years for IDPs’ advocacy groups to restore full political rights of IDPs-citizens in Ukraine. I conclude that even internal and justified migration can quickly disrupt political rights of citizens whose in-betweenness situation takes time to alleviate. Earlier advocacy work of the first wave IDPs also sets an important precedent for securing electoral rights for the second wave of 6.8mln IDPs, displaced by the Russo-Ukrainian war in 2022.  

Lidia Kuzemska (PhD in Sociology, Lancaster University) is a sociologist with an interdisciplinary interest in forced migration, internal displacement, borders, and citizenship. She is currently a Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin) with Prisma Ukraїna: War, Migration, Memory, where she focuses on war-displaced Ukrainians in Russia. In her PhD dissertation, Lidia analysed the counter-hegemonic citizenship practices of the Internally Displaced Persons in Ukraine during the first wave of forced displacement (2014-2021). She is also a research affiliate at the Internal Displacement Research Programme (SOAS University of London) and a peer-reviewer of the Knowledge Platform and Connection Hub (UN Network on Migration).

Nil Mutluer: »Citizenship, Memory and Everyday Tactics of Internally Displaced Kurdish Men in Istanbul«
At the peak of the armed conflict between the Turkish army and the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê / Kurdistan Workers’ Party) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Turkish state forces evacuated some Kurdish villages and hamlets in Southeast Anatolia (North Kurdistan) and displaced Kurdish inhabitants without offering them any other place to live. These internally displaced people (IDP) mostly settled in big cities like Istanbul. My study endeavors to comprehend how macro policies and discourses of the Turkish state and civil and political institutions, like those of the Kurdish movement, as well as the memories and collective consciousness of community, traditional and national values are utilized, transformed, and traversed in the everyday life of internally displaced men living in the center of Istanbul, and how the masculinities of internally displaced men are shaped in this tension. Based on a field research carried out in Istanbul‘s Tarlabaşı neighborhood between 2007 and 2010, my study also reveals the power dynamics within the center of Istanbul just before the mega gentrification project in the neighborhood and the disrupted peace negotiations between the Turkish state and the Kurdish movement.   

Nil Mutluer (PhD, Comparative Gender Studies, Central European University) is currently affiliated with Universität Leipzig, Institute of Religion Studies as a Senior Researcher and with the Forum Transregionale Studien as a EUME Fellow 2022/23. She was an Einstein Foundation Senior Scholar between 2019-2021, a Philipp Schwartz Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Diversity and Social Conflict Department between 2016-2018, as well as an interim professor of Public Law and Gender Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2018. Nil has worked as a lecturer at different universities in Istanbul. She has published extensively in the areas of diversity (gender, ethnic and religious), nationalism, migration, memory studies and Turkish politics in various academic and non-academic journals and newspapers.

Please note that the Berliner Seminar will take place on-site at the Forum Transregionale Studien. We kindly ask for prior registration via eume(at) Depending on approval by the speaker(s), the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available on SoundCloud.

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