Keele academic discusses language and migration at prestigious symposium

A lecturer in law from Keele University was invited to speak about the role of memory and experience on asylum seekers at a virtual symposium hosted by Princeton University this week.

Dr Forough Ramezankhah spoke at the recent “Language and Migration: Experience and Memory” symposium, an interdisciplinary conference sponsored by the Migration Lab at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the Study Group for Language and the United Nations. The symposium bought together humanists and social scientists, fieldworkers and policy makers, artists and writers, to think together about migrants as resourceful users, interpreters, and creators of language.

Language is a vital, but underexplored, factor in the lives of migrants, immigrants and refugees and it has a direct impact on the experiences and choices of individuals displaced by war, terror, or natural disasters and the decisions made by agents who provide (or fail to provide) relief, services, and status.

In her presentation, Dr Ramezankhah discussed the interaction of language and memory with the law that determines the immigration status of asylum seekers.

Dr Ramezankhah said: “It was wonderful to be part of this interdisciplinary symposium which looked at the language of the host country and its impact on the lives and experiences of refugees and migrants.

“It is important that we continue to explore and understand the experiences of migrants, and it was a privilege to play a part in this ongoing conversation by exploring the intersection of colonialism, law, language and lived experience.”