Comparative Xenophobia: South Africa, Europe, North America

November 04, 2015

Heribert Adam

Wednesday, November 4, 7:00pm–9:00pm, room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre

Co-sponsored by SFU's J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, The African Great Lakes Networking Foundation, & Siraat

Variants of xenophobia in South Africa and Canada are discussed, but the main focus is on the inflow of refugees into Germany. When in September 2015 Angela Merkel opened the border for migrants as a one-time gesture to ease an emergency, the newcomers encountered unprecedented welcome gestures by ordinary citizens. The relevant sociological questions are, what caused the shift from prior xenophobia to solidarity, how fragile or enduring is the German acceptance, how will the annual one million newcomers be integrated and what are the limits of a welfare state to accommodate not only politically persecuted groups, but climate refugees and economic migrants as well? 

Heribert Adam, FRSC, joined Simon Fraser University in 1968 and is Professor Emeritus of Sociology. He was born in Germany and educated at the Frankfurt School, where Adorno was his PhD mentor. Adam specializes in nationalism and ethnicity, with a focus on South Africa, immigration, multiculturalism, and peacemaking in divided societies. Among his awards are the 1998 Adenauer Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the 2006 Achievement Award of the Canadian Sociology Association. His most recent book, co-authored with Kogila Moodley, is: Imagined Liberation: Xenophobia, Identity and Citizenship in South Africa, Germany and Canada, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2015 and Stellenbosch: SUN Media). Contact: adam@sfu.ca