Lexicon of Forced Migration Projects

This is a selection of student projects from the Lexicon of Forced Migration course offered at Vassar, Bennington, Sarah Lawrence, and Bard Colleges. The course encourages students to think critically and consciously of the language used to discuss forced migration while staying global in scope and multidisciplinary in methodology. The projects below were created collaboratively between Vassar College and Bennington College students in Spring 2021.

Climate Change and Forced Migration

By Arlene Chen (Vassar ‘24), Eunice Rodriguez (Bennington ‘22), Jordan Shamoun (Vassar ‘24), Jonah Taranta (Vassar ‘24), and Alexey Tarasov (Bennington)

“Climate change (also referred to as global warming) is the process through which the physical conditions of Earth are changing, outside of normal patterns. This includes more extreme weather events, global mean sea level rising, land erosion, desertification, melting of glacial ice, and global mean air temperatures rising, etc. This will cause some places on Earth to become uninhabitable by humans (and other species) in the coming decades. Because of this, we will see an increase in forced migration due to climate change. …

“With climate change being a relatively new phenomenon, the relative awareness and understanding of the severity of this issue differs greatly from person to person. Because of this it can be difficult to know how to address the issue of forced migration and climate change. One nation that is currently experiencing the profound effects of this crisis is Kiribati. Through exploring the struggles of Kiribati citizens during this crisis, we hope to bring awareness to their unique struggle and open up a conversation on how to address forced migration caused by climate change.”

Mike Bowers, “Salt water from sea incursions and storm surges has isolated some houses Kiribati’s main island of South Tarawa,” October 22, 2017 (photo)

Maxine Burkett, “Justice and Contemporary Climate Relocation: An Addendum to Words of Caution on “Climate Refugees,” NewSecurityBeat, Wilson Center, August 8, 2016

Janice Cantieri, “The Remains of Maneteata Ruotaake’s Home,” National Geographic, December 15, 2015 (photo) 

Iberdrola Corporativa, “Kiribati, the First Country Rising Sea Levels Will Swallow up as a Result of Climate Change,” Iberdrola

Richard Curtain, Matthew Dornan, Nancy J Pollock, and Jon Barnett, “Climate Change and Migration in Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru,” Devpolicy Blog, Development Policy Centre, February 14, 2019 

N. Castree, R. Kitchin, and A. Rogers, “A Short Definition for Geopolitics,” A Dictionary of Human Geography, in Dartmouth Library (retrieved 2017), 2013 

Christopher Flavelle and Denise Lu, “Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050, New Research Shows,” New York Times, October 29, 2019 

Gratzer, Jonas Gratzer, “Eita Settlement in Tarawa, Kiribati,” The Guardian, Getty Images, 2020 (photo) 

Kiribati: a drowning paradise in the South Pacific,” DW Documentary, directed by Markus Henssler,  2017 (video) 

Rebecca Lindsey, “Climate Change: Global Sea Level,” NOAA Climate.gov, January 25, 2021 

Tim McDonald, “The Man Who Would Be the First Climate Change Refugee,” BBC News, November 5, 2015 

Shalailah Medhora, “Peter Dutton jokes with Tony Abbott about rising sea levels in Pacific nations,” The Guardian, September 10, 2015 

Christopher Pala, “Kiribati and China to develop former climate-refuge land in Fiji,” The Guardian, February 23, 2021 

Craig S. Perez, “Pacific Islander Climate Change Poetry,The Missing Slate, October 1, 2017

Alex Randall, Joe Salisbury, and Zach White, “Moving Stories: The Voices of People Who Move in the Context of Environmental Change,” edited by Rebecca Sullivan, Climate Outreach and Information Network, 2014 

Daan Roosegaarde, “WATERLICHT: The dream landscape about the power and poetry of water,” Colombia University, New York, 2019

Adaena Sinclair-Blakemore, “Teitiota v New Zealand: A Step Forward in the Protection of Climate Refugees under International Human Rights Law?,” OHRH, Oxford University, January 29, 2020 

Smithsonian – Water is Rising Dance,” seacitizens, 2011 (video) 

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, “Kiribati King Tides Flooding Documentation,” Greenpeace, February 1, 2005 (photo)

Kiribati Topographic Map, Elevation, Relief,” Topographic-Map, 2017 (map) 

Climate change and disaster replacement,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand (Advance Unedited Version),” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Refworld, 2020 

US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “What Is a King Tide?NOAA’s National Ocean Service, October 29, 2018

Laura J. Werner, “Climate Change, King Tides and Kiribati,” University of Pittsburgh, 2017. 

Kiribati Population 2021 (Live),” World Population Review, 2021 (interactive graph)

Deportation and Criminalization

By Logan Ragsdale (Vassar ’21), Isabel Harper (Bennington), and Julia Henck (Bennington)

Alex Murillo, “‘The Judge Thanked Me for My Service to My Country, and Then Ordered Me Deported,”IMM Print, a project of Freedom for Immigrants, February 18, 2019

Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo, “Consequences Too Harsh for Noncitizens Convicted of Aggravated Felonies?Florida State University Law Review Vol. 41, Issue 4, 2014

Sandya Nayadhur and Almas Sayeed, “Arrest to Deportation Pipeline,” California Immigrant Policy Center, April 15, 2021 

Natasha Arnpriester and Olga Byrne, “Punishing Refugees and Migrants: The Trump Administration’s Misuse of Criminal Prosecutions,” Human Rights First, January 2018

Nathan, Debbie Nathan, “Hidden Horrors of ‘Zero Tolerance’ – Mass Trials and Children Taken From Their Parents,” The Intercept, May 29, 2018 

Leisy Abrego et al., “Making Immigrants into Criminals: Legal Processes of Criminalization in the Post-IIRIRA Era,” Journal on Migration and Human Security Vol. 5, no. 3, 2017

Mizue Aizeki, “Mass Deportation under the Homeland Security State: Anti-Violence Advocates Join the Fight Against Criminalization of Immigrants,” S&F Online, Barnard Center for Research on Women, 2019 

Samantha M. Montalbano, “The Rise and Fall of the State Attrition through Enforcement Trend: A Story of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and Arizona v. United States as the Fulcrum of the Trend,” Trinity College Digital Repository, 2013

Immigrants In Arizona,” American Immigration Council, 2020

Gentrification in Los Angeles

By Mae Long (Vassar ‘24), Nicole Migneault (Bennington ‘23), and Jasper Hixon (Vassar ‘24)

Eileen Guo, “In California, 1 Million People Lack Access to Clean Water,” High Country News, November 20, 2020         

State of the Climate: Drought – Summer (JJA) 1999,” NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, September 1999

Angel Jennings, “‘Black Beverly Hills’ debates historic status vs. white gentrification,” Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2015

Helene Elliott, “Cost of Staples Center Increases to $375 Million,” Los Angeles Times, March 19, 1999 

Jonny Coleman and Jacob Woocher, “How Staples Center Kicked LA Gentrification Into Overdrive,” The Nation, October 31, 2019 

Mike Sonksen, “The History of South Central Los Angeles and Its Struggle with Gentrification,” KCET, January 19, 2021 

 “Editorial: Hundreds of Thousands of Californians Lack Access to Safe Drinking Water. Let’s Fix That Once and for All,” Los Angeles Times, August 18, 2017 

Jessica Biro, “Gentrification: Deliberate Displacement, or Natural Social Movement?,” The Park Place Economist Vol. 15, 2007

Mark A. Matney Jr., “Transnational Teach-in: Stadium-Driven Displacement in Los Angeles,” Olympics Watch Transnational Archive, August 3, 2020

Los Angeles – Gentrification and Displacement,” Urban Displacement Project, 2020 (map)

Jason Richardson, Bruce Mitchell, and Juan Franco, “Shifting Neighborhoods: Gentrification and Cultural Displacement in American Cities,” National Community Reinvestment Coalition, November 12, 2020