Skip to Content

Contemporary Continental Philosophy: The Figure of the Migrant

PHIL 3111

The 21st century has been described as the century of "people on the move" by UNHCR High Commissioner Antonio Guterres. Some 11 million people are refugees worldwide, fleeing political violence and/or persecution at home; whole more than 20 million are internally displaced within the borders of their own countries. Accordingly, the figure of the migrant/refugee has emerged as one of the most important, if not the most important, political figures of contemporary continental philosophy. Despite differences in philosophical orientation, thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze, Judith Butler, Jacques Ranciere, Julia Kristeva, Alain Badiou, and Jacques Derrida have all written at length on the centrality of the figure of the migrant for contemporary political thought. Not only does the figure of the migrant define the people of our time, according to many of these authors, it also defines a positive political way forward. This course thus provides not only a survey of the different traditions in contemporary European philosophy over the last twenty years (post-structuralism, deconstruction, neo-classicism, post-Marxism, third-wave feminism) but also offers a thematic look at the politico-philosophical figure of the migrant and other issues related to migration (human rights, borders, camps, sovereignty, territory, nomadism, and resistance).