From Migrant Settlement to Mobility Justice: Reflections on Teaching/Learning about Migration in a Settler Colonial Setting
With Soma Chatterjee, School of Social Work, York University
In this talk, Chatterjee will share her experience of teaching migration electives in social work. A discipline focused on the immediate concerns of vulnerable communities, social work practice with immigrants and refugees tends to gravitate more toward successful integration of immigrants than understanding the structural drivers of migration and refugee movements globally. On the other hand, as a discipline grappling with its long history of violence against Indigenous peoples, particularly Indigenous children, social work has recently embarked on curricular decolonization in ways that has further removed it from the realities of global displacement.
As an immigrant scholar of migration and nation building in a settler colonial state, Chatterjee finds herself in an interesting position as she advocates for people’s freedom to move and find home while fiercely supporting the political imperative of staying located/rooted in ancestral land. One of the ways she has tried to explain this tension to her students is by planning experiential learning activities that complicate (even refuse) simple answers to this complex conundrum.
The talk will draw from Chatterjee’s experience of planning experiential education activities for graduate and undergraduate classes (2017–23), students’ learning reflections, and some of the pedagogical and administrative challenges of moving the work of decolonizing curricula from rhetoric to practice. Her goal will be to engage the audience into thinking about the notion of mobility justice, a conceptual space that allows us to think of migrant and Indigenous justice in its relations and contradictions.
Soma Chatterjee is an associate professor at the School of Social Work, York University.
This is the culminating event in the Decolonizing Pedagogies & Pedagogies of Care in the South Asian Studies classroom series organized by Shobna Nijhawan (Languages, Literatures & Linguistics) and presented with support from the York Centre for Asian Research.