Humanitarianism & Human Rights Symposium, Western Australia, November 2017


A promotional banner for the 'Humanitarianism & Human Rights' 48th Annual Symposium in WA. The photo used in the banner is a photo taken by Barat Ali Batoor of people in the lower deck of an asylum seeker boat.

Suvendrini Perera and Joseph Pugliese presented as part of the ‘Displacement and Diaspora’ panel session at the 48th Annual Australian Academy of the Humanities (AAH) Symposium held at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle on 16 November 2017.

Perera presented on ‘The Deathscapes Project’:

This presentation focuses on refugee and migrant bodies as they die in their myriad ways across the deathscape, from the desert borders of the United States to the waters of the Mediterranean and offshore detention sites in Australia. It discusses some of the key analytical concepts developed through the research and offers a preview of the Deathscapes website, which will be a key outcome of this project, demonstrating how the site functions as an interface for diverse forms of engagement and exchange among communities, activists, artists and researchers.

Pugliese presented on ‘Displacement, Diaspora and the Ethical Imperative of the Incomplete Community’:

In the course of the last two decades, together with Suvendrini Perera, I have sought to draw inter/national attention to the gross violations experienced by Australia’s asylum seekers and refugees in onshore and offshore camps. Since 2015 we have sought to extend our interventions on this topic through the establishment of a platform, Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites (RAPBS), that attempts to bring together research, creative practice and activism. The platform enables the dissemination of refugee testimonies, critique and acts of resistance as it also aims to share our own theoretical and critical understandings of refugee policy among a non-academic audience.

As such, the RAPBS platform is an attempt to make available and extend our humanities research among broader communities and coalitions. We understand these as contributions, in Jean-Luc Nancy’s terms, to making communities of ‘incompletion’, that is, communities marked by an incomplete ‘activity of sharing’ that simultaneously marks the asymmetries of power and resources that inscribe our respective spaces.

The full abstracts of their presentations can be read here.


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.