EuroStorie research seminar: Malene H. Jacobsen 28.5.2021

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Time: Friday, 28 May 2021 at 1:00pm - 2:00pm EEST
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The intimate entanglements of war and refuge

Within liberal narratives of war and refuge, the two terms are often juxtaposed. War is often represented as the antithesis of refuge. In this talk, Dr Malene H. Jacobsen troubles these assumptions. She offers a feminist geographical analysis focusing on the relationships between war and refuge. Drawing on in-depth research conducted with Syrian refugees in Denmark, Dr Jacobsen traces the ways in which refugees encounter and negotiate war within and across geographical sites. She argues that the experience of war does not end when Syrians are able to escape the territory of Syria. Rather, the violence of war is experienced in intimate ways, appears in unexpected places, and morphs into what Syrian refugees call ḥarb nafsīa (حَرْب نفسية), a war on and against the soul, the mind, and the existence of a person. This talk contributes to geographers and postcolonial scholars’ theorizations of war and refuge, asking us to rethink a broader set of questions such as: Where is war? What counts as war? And who decides?

About the speaker 

Dr. Malene H. Jacobsen is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Geography, Maynooth University, Ireland. Malene holds a PhD from the Department of Geography, University of Kentucky, United States. As a feminist political geographer, Malene’s research focuses on war, displacement, and the lived experience of refuge with a focus on Western Europe and the Middle East. Funded by the Irish Research Council, her current research project “Precarious Protection: Syrian and Somali Struggles for Refuge in Denmark” explores the legal shift towards temporary refugee protection in Denmark.