Trapped in/Pushed Out: border politics in the US and Australia

Co-presented with the School of Social and Political Sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre

12 April, 2017

From building walls, to stopping boats, to attempts to ‘trade’ refugees between countries, we are witnessing unprecedented efforts by national governments to externalise their borders, absolving rich countries of their international obligations, and often shifting the burden to poorer countries.

Our panel will examine the current policies of the United States and Australia and offer observations about the implications of such policies – for those who cannot move, for those who remain unprotected, and for those who try to respond.

The panel will be preceded by a photography exhibition featuring the work of Syrians living the ‘Trapped In/Pushed Out’ experience, curated by Maher Jamous, a Syrian producer and filmmaker who fled Syria in 2012.


  • Professor David FitzGerald, Professor of Sociology, University of California San Diego
    David’s research program aims to understand the laws and policies regulating international migration as a total system of interactions among ctors in countries of origin and destination. His co-authored book, Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas (2014) has won numerous awards.
  • Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator, Amnesty International
    Graham has visited detention centres in Australia, including those on Christmas Island, and refugee camps and detention centres in the Netherlands, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, Nauru and Thailand. Over the last eight years Graham has represented Amnesty International at the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement in Geneva.
  • Michelle Peterie, PhD candidate (Sociology), University of Sydney
    Michelle’s research is situated at the intersection of the sociology of emotions and the politics of forced migration. In addition to her PhD studies, Michelle works as a Research Assistant at several Australian universities and co-convenes the Australian Sociological Association’s (TASA’s) Emotions and Affect Thematic Group.
  • Behrouz Boochani, journalist, currently in detention on Manus Island, and Dr Omid Tofighian, Senior Project Officer, National Centre for Cultural Competence, University of Sydney
    Behrouz is a journalist from Iran whose work includes commentary, reporting, critique, film making, and theater. He received the Social Justice award for his journalistic work at the 2016 Diaspora Symposium. He has been incarcerated on Manus Island for more than 3 ½ years. Omid is a researcher and community advocate, combining philosophy with interests in rhetoric, religion, popular culture, transnationalism, displacement and discrimination. Behrouz will speak to Omid by phone at the event, and contribute to the discussion.