Placemaking in a Polycrisis: The Protection and Survival of Refugees in Malaysia

Wednesday, April 24, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Philippines Conference Room
Encina Hall, Third Floor, Central, C330
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
  • Gerhard Hoffstaedter, 2023-2024 Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Fellow on Contemporary Southeast Asia
Gerhard Hoffstaedter

Multiple crises complicate the resettlement of refugees in Malaysia—from the irregular migration trajectories of Chin and Rohingya refugees to their efforts to settle in a new country. Although Malaysia harbors one of the largest urban refugee populations in Southeast Asia, it does not grant most refugees any status and is not a party to the UN refugee convention. Malaysian state authorities surveil, police, detain, and extort refugees on a regular basis, mistreatment exacerbated by recent COVID-19 restrictions. And yet there are spaces outside of this control in which “sociabilities of emplacement” (Çağlar and Glick-Schiller 2018) are possible, where refugees are able to create places of protection, earn a living, and, in rare cases, make meaningful homes for themselves.

Gerhard Hoffstaedter 042424

Gerhard Hoffstaedter is an Associate Professor in anthropology at the University of Queensland, Australia. His research is focused on refugees in Southeast Asia, on immigration policies and on religion and the state. His many publications include Modern Muslim Identities: Negotiating Religion and Ethnicity in Malaysia (2011) and co-edited volumes on Urban Refugees: Challenges in Protection, Services and Policy (2015) and Why Human Security Matters: Rethinking Australian Foreign Policy (2012). He also directs “The Anthropology of Current World Issues,” a Massive Open Online Course that has taught thousands of students how to think more anthropologically.