Cite as: Topali, P., 2018, "Anthropological detours in Greece during the refugee crisis". Teaching Anthropology Blog
In 2015 the “refugee crisis” reached the island, and an interest in migration swept the university. Students were fascinated by these strangers coming from the sea, and observed them, sat next to them on buses, or walked with them in the streets. They had heard stories of heroic rescues, which would have made them to want to experience the excitement of saving a life. Dreams of performed humanness entered university classrooms and demands for fieldwork on “the refugees” became common. Initially, this interest seemed an opportunity to talk about the migrants’ point of view, describe their worldviews, contextualize and analyze their experience.
However, things were not so easy. Long ‘detours’ of systematic fieldwork to comprehend the Others or careful observation to grasp a moment of their realities were still unappreciated practices. Solidarian and humanitarian activities, and visits to camps became normal(‑ized) academic practice, a substitute for fieldwork.
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