The contemporary surge in people crossing borders is a response to global crises. Migration is a symptom, not principally a cause, of our world’s multiple crises.

During 2023 to 2024, the Anthropology Section of the New York Academy of Sciences will devote its Distinguished Lecture Series to examining global crises and their relationship to people on the move. Participants in the series will examine the role of global inequality, climate change, food insecurity, political instability, war, and cross-border wealth extraction and their relationship to the contemporary human struggles to make and keep a home. Global and internal Inequalities are fundamental forces that generate many of the secondary causes of human mobilities and struggles to settle and belong.

An overcrowded refugee boat capsizes in the Mediterranean

Throughout the series, participants will explore the treatment of migrants in the places they move through and the places where they try to build new lives, as well as the explanatory narratives that rationalize the ill-treatment of migrants as they move. We will examine movement itself as a dynamic and diverse force, as people cross borders not only from the South to the North, but also laterally within the South itself (e.g., Bolivians in Brazil) and also within nations. Explanatory narratives erase the underlying causes of migration, often blaming migrants and the Global South, rather than the Northern forces undermining Southern livelihoods. In consequence, migrants are often treated poorly and, rather than welcomed, they are often subjected to prejudice, racial discrimination, and injury, separation from family and friends during their journeys, and even death. The cross-cultural case studies that we explore through this series will also address contributions of migrants to the localities where they establish new lives, significant contributions that are often overlooked.

Visit the Events page for the full schedule