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CFP: SfAA 2018 panel: The Role of Language in Refugee Resettlement & Integration

Call For Papers: 

Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting

Philadelphia, PA         April 3 - 7, 2018

Organizer: Pilapa Esara Carroll (College at Brockport, SUNY)

The Role of Language in Refugee Resettlement & Integration

This panel focuses on the topic of language acquisition and proficiency as it plays out in within the overlapping processes of refugee resettlement and integration. In many resettlement contexts, it is generally acknowledged how proficiency in the dominant language spoken can result in economic and social benefits over the short- and long-term, in terms of employment status and income, as well as increased well-being, due in part to improved communication with service-providers. The literature on refugee and immigrant households also indicates that the language proficiency of the parent/s has an important influence upon their child/ren.  However, language proficiency cannot be analyzed in isolation as it is arguably just one inter-dependent component of integration, along with other domains, like housing, health, employment, and safety, to name a few. 

My hope is to recruit papers which can answer one of the following questions: What role does language acquisition play in the resettlement and/or integration of particular refugee groups? How do government policies affect newcomers’ options to acquire the dominant language or their potential benefits (if any) from this acquisition?  What role does civil society play in supporting migrants’ desires and efforts to acquire the dominant language or to retain their native languages?  What are the challenges faced by specific groups with particular circumstances related for example to being older, non-literate, deaf, etc?

I welcome the contributions of anthropologically-minded scholars and practitioners from a variety of fields and disciplines.  The session topic is broad enough to encompass a range of papers from ethnographic insights for policy-makers, service providers or educators to critical analyses of discourses of or about refugee groups, be they in- or out-of-the-classroom, or involving societal constructs of “who belongs” or “who deserves” asylum/residency/citizenship.

If interested, please email Pilapa Esara Carroll (pesara@brockport.edu) with proposed abstract (100 words or less) by Thurs., Oct. 5th.

Notification of selection will be made by Oct. 9th, with pre-registration and abstract submissions due to SfAA by Oct. 15th

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