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IES Affiliated Faculty Assess Brexit

IES affiliated faculty members are assessing the "Brexit" referendum in the Berkeley Blog. Economist Barry Eichengreen offers some insights into the Brexit vote and its links to globalization in his piece What explains Britain's Brexit shocker? Sociologist Irene Bloemraad disagrees with many pundits, saying in Immigrants, Brexit, Trump and inequality that she does not think the British vote was tied to voter attitudes about immigration. And Political scientist and director of the IES Center for British Studies Mark Bevir discusses the future of the UK after Brexit in Which road for Britain? and Where does the Brexit vote leave us? For more background information on Brexit, please consider this guide that UC Berkeley International Documents Librarian Jim Church compiled.

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September 20, 2016: Crossing the Sea with Syrians

Julia Chouchair-Vizoso (Center for Middle Eastern Studies), Wolfgang Bauer (Die Zeit) and Akasemi Newsome (IES).

In cooperation with the Goethe Institute, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Die Kritikmaschine and the Department of German, IES hosted a discussion on September 20 featuring Die Zeit journalist Wolfgang Bauer, whose recent book, Crossing the Sea with Syrians, documents the experiences of refugees as they undertake the treacherous journey to Europe. The interview portion, which was conducted by Julia Chouchair-Vizoso, Vice Chair of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, began with a brief chronological overview of the book. As he had gone undercover and traveled alongside the refugees as part of his project, Bauer provided a first-person perspective of the perils of the journey, from being smuggled, to being abandoned by traffickers, to being incarcerated.

Chouchair-Vizoso then asked for his thoughts on the radical nature of his field-work approach. A common criticism, she noted, is that such methods can result in academics and journalists becoming part of the story in a way that might overshadow the issues at hand. Admitting the difficulty of self-exclusion, Bauer indicated that his goal was to provide his audience with a transparent, accurate account of refugeesf stories as real humans. He also discussed his refrainment from defining a target audience as well as his lack of a political agenda, explaining that he wanted his story to reach as diverse a group as possible. Regarding current refugee-related policies, Bauer had some passionate criticisms and comments. He expressed his belief that the current crisis is due to the failure of the international community. He also observed that many Syrian refugees have fled their countries due to fears of bombardment and, hence, argued that, had a no-fly zone been introduced, the scale of refugee crisis might have been more manageable.

Following the interview, the audience had the opportunity to ask a variety of questions ranging from Bauerfs views on Merkelfs policy and the role his story can play in shaping policies in the EU to further queries about the fates of the refugees with whom he traveled.

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