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The Stakes of Sanctuary -07-08/03/2019, Montréal (Canada)


A quick glance at the historical record reveals the multitude of ways in which sanctuary practices have manifested themselves, the ways they have been justified, as well as the ways in which they have been woven into the very fabric of human life. One can look to ideas in Ancient Greece and Rome, to the Old and New Testament and a sense of obligations to strangers as well as the Islamic tradition of istijara (to be one’s neighbour), to Medieval practices designed to offer the guilty time to make amends, to refuge among Indigenous communities (17th century Iroquois Wars), to protection for slaves via the Underground Railway and more recent state-sanctioned offers of refuge (via resettlement programs) and semi-authorized refuge in the form of sanctuary cities as well as individual acts of sanctuary. The question of what animates or characterizes any sanctuary practice is central to unpacking the many ways in which benefactors and recipients are part of larger political, social and cultural landscapes. Sanctuary can be offered and received publicly or privately, sanctioned by the state or undertaken by civil society actors for religious or secular purposes. The interdisciplinary Stakes of Sanctuary workshop interrogates how and why sanctuary has become so central to public discourse on the protection of refugees and migrants, with the recognition that sanctuary practices have diverse and complex genealogies. The diversity of sanctuary practices invites critical engagement around the character of sanctuary and its significance. To this end, the workshop asks about the impulse and character of sanctuary, now and historically, as well as what is at stake, and for whom, in the claiming and offering of sanctuary.

Confirmed contributors include Michael Blake (University of Washington), Vinh Nguyen (University of Waterloo), Shannon McSheffrey (Concordia University), Charmaine Nelson (McGill University), Rebecca Schreiber (University of New Mexico), Shelley Wilcox (San Francisco State University).


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: McGill University (Montréal, Canada)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Patti Tamara Lenard (University of Ottawa); Laura Madokoro (McGill University)




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