Critical Conversations

The third season of Critical Conversations, an expert-led discussion series that allows Library members to delve deeper into pressing topics, returns this April 2022. We believe open debate is vital to a healthy democracy, and the aim of Critical Conversations is to foster a sense of community while also promoting civic discourse and engagement. Our hope is that participants will join us to educate and challenge themselves—through reading and dialogue. Programs Manager Alice McCrum continues to shape the series, and looks forward to hearing your feedback.

Theme and Format for 2022: Human Mobility and National Borders

The program returns in person on Thursday 14 April* with the issue of the freedom of movement. Critical Conversations participants will attend a series of three, ninety-minute sessions, with short readings distributed in advance. Ettore Recchi will begin each meeting with some opening remarks, before guiding a group discussion. The series will be held in person at the Library. Series size will be capped at twenty participants to encourage meaningful participation across the group.

Meeting* dates and topics:

(Thursday 14 April) Meeting 1: Here, there and everywhere: does modernity equal mobility?

Until the COVID-19 crisis, international travel and migration had been growing uninterruptedly for decades. What are the sociological roots of this phenomenon? And what about the consequences? Finally, is the trend bound to continue amid rising environmental and health concerns?

(Thursday 28 April) Meeting 2: Free movement in the EU: a success story?

The freedom to move and settle across 27 different sovereign states is a unique achievement of the European Union. Why and how did this happen? And what are the implications of free movement for the future?

(Thursday 5th May) Meeting 3: A world without borders: Is it possible?

Against a backdrop of expanding human mobility and aspirations to migrate, the number of walls and the severity of immigration policies is rising globally. Can we imagine a world with open borders? What would be the economic, social, and cultural impact of this apparent utopia? 

*All meetings will begin at 19h CEST and run for 90 minutes.

How to join this Critical Conversation

This series will take place in person at the Library and is limited to Library members.

Advance payment and registration is required:

Regular rate: 50€ per participant
Reduced rate: 25€  (exclusively for students/seniors/unemployed)

Please email Alice McCrum, Programs Manager, with any questions.

About Ettore Recchi, the 2022 series leader

The series leader for 2022 is Ettore Recchi, professor at Sciences Po Paris, where he is the Director of the MA and PhD programs in Sociology. He is also Visiting Fellow of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) of the EUI (Florence) and of the Institut Convergences Migrations (Paris). Recchi has published over 120 papers, book chapters, edited volumes, and monographs.

Recchi’s articles feature in academic journals of sociology (e.g., European Sociological Review), political science (e.g., West European Politics), European studies (e.g., Journal of Common Market Studies), migration studies (e.g., International Migration Review), geography (e.g., Political Geography), global studies (e.g., Global Networks) and data science (e.g., EPJ Data Science). His last book is Everyday Europe: Social Transnationalism in an Unsettled Continent (Policy Press, 2019), a co-authored work on European integration ‘from below.’ He has directed several national and international projects on free movement, transnationalism, migration and mobilities. In 2020-2021, Recchi coordinated two research projects on Covid: at Sciences Po, Coping with Covid (CoCo) on the impact of the pandemic on social life in France; at EUI, The Airport Factor on the effect of air travels on the spread of the disease globally.

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