AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

At a crossroads: old and new racializations in the Central American migratory landscape


latin america and the caribbean



Central America represents a key site for examining the convergence of many different shifting migration dynamics - from the migration of African, Asian, and Caribbean migrants through the region en route to North America, to dramatic increases in asylum applications and forced migration from Venezuela, Colombia, and elsewhere. This roundtable brings together anthropologists working on and with asylum seekers seeking refuge within Central America; migrants in transit from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean moving through Central America; and Central Americans on the move through Mexico to draw connections among issues of racialization, (in)visibility, and (in)mobility within these different migration flows and dynamics. In particular, the roundtable addresses how these issues intersect with local contexts of marginalization and (informal/ephemeral) infrastructures of reception. Their visibility/invisibility and mobility/immobility are often strategically linked and become employed during encounters with state, non-state, and other local actors, for example, through migrant caravans and in migrant-catering hostels or shelters. This is not new, however, this roundtable seeks to advance our understanding of contemporary processes of racialization in this Central American context, which has perhaps never before seen such a particular mix of people on the move. What does this mean for local and travelling imaginaries of Central America and Central Americans on the global stage? How do racialized understandings of travellers and dwellers alike shape social and practical dynamics of reception? To what extent do understandings of race, ethnicity, nationality and religious affiliation get re-shaped in the current migratory landscape? Addressing these questions means challenging ‘truths’ about migration, such as the neat separation of different categories and stages of migration, but also, and in particular, the uncomfortable ‘truths’ about racialization and other power dynamics that mark migration landscapes, including our representations of these.


Transcript English (automatic)

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