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Are We Entering a New Age of Global Apartheid?: The Immigration Debate in Maine

Lecture Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Catherin Besteman

Catherine Besteman

Refugees from states devastated by civil war and terrorism pose a challenge to the international community, which creates 'humanitarian' practices to contain and monitor refugees in order to deliver charitable assistance while reducing the risks refugees are perceived as posing to the international order and individual nation-states. Somali refugees throughout the world are caught in a set of risk-management practices, which incarcerate some in refugee camps and define others — those resettled in the US — as potential security threats to their new communities. How does the hostility engendered by fears about risk inflect the perspectives in Maine of Somali immigrants?

Making Migration Visible LogoThis lecture is part of Making Migration Visible: Traces, Tracks & Pathways, a state-wide initiative featuring events by dozens of partnering organizations offering parallel exhibitions, film screenings, performances, lectures, community dinners, poetry, and more. Making Migration Visible aims to promote the actions, passion, and creativity of organizations throughout Maine that are working to improve understandings about migration.


Catherine Besteman teaches anthropology at Colby College. Her research focuses on mobility, militarism, sovereignty/citizenship, and racism, topics she has studied in South Africa, Somalia, and the US. Her books include Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine (2016), Transforming Cape Town (2008), Unraveling Somalia (1999), and the edited volumes The Insecure American (2009), Why America’s Top Pundits are Wrong (2005), and Violence: A Reader (2002). A 2012 Guggenheim Fellow, her work has also been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Wenner Gren Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, Sigma Xi, and the School of Advanced Research. 


WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion
716 Stevens Avenue
Portland, ME 04103

Assigned Reading

Catherine Besteman, Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine​ (Duke University Press, 2016)


5 p.m. in the UNE Art Gallery (Portland Campus)


(207) 221-4435

The Immigration Debate in Maine Lecture Poster
6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public