My long-awaited Fulbright experience started on a tropical day at the end of August and finished with an exceptional winter storm right before Christmas. Unlike the temperature, my enthusiasm for living and studying in New England did constantly increase during those four months.
Long ago, learning a second (and third) language as a teenager sparked my interest in international travel, which – after experiencing that travel – inspired me to study International Relations. This eventually led to my academic career and to the Fulbright-Schuman European Union Affairs award, so it seems apropos to return to these roots here. […]
The Amherst playlists
I arrived in the peaceful, scenic town of Amherst, set in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts and home of three schools of the renowned Five College Consortium1, in mid-August 2021 for a seven-month stay in the Anthropology Department at the University of Massachusetts as a Fulbright Schuman Professor Awardee. I had made the move […]
My Fulbright project looked at why and how law is being used as a tool of democratic inclusion in Europe—the idea of legal mobilization. Specifically, I was investigating how lawyers on the ground in struggles for social justice work with clients, civil society organizations, and larger networks to formulate legal claims asking European-level courts—the Court […]
During the first COVID lock-down in my hometown Vienna, Austria, writing a Fulbright proposal for visiting the United States felt strange. My partner and I did not even dare to celebrate when we received the request to sign the contract and submit our documents for the visa procedure. When we finally touched ground in California, we could not believe our luck. We could finally taste the life we only knew from the movies, music and, in general, our pop-cultural upbringing. Until our departure, I never stopped marvelling at this alien world, beautiful and seemingly endless landscapes, diversity in biomes and cultures, buzzing urban areas, but also its enormous divide between rich and poor, ubiquitous slums and the currently prevailing grand polarization of the American population.
On a beautiful, sunny day in early May, I stepped out for some fresh air, an EU policy study tucked into my bag, and headed to the park to do some reading. As I sat trying to brush up on the regulations governing eCommerce and digital services, a group started playing frisbee on the lawn. […]
Labour of love
I visited Columbia University during the fall semester of 2021. As chance would have it, this was the semester during which Columbia University’s student workers went on a 10-week strike which saw them win a range of improvements over previous working conditions
A sense of community
In my line of research, I often ask respondents, “do you feel a sense of community” in their country of asylum. This question prompts various responses, where some have found their “tribe” and others feel like a lone wolf. Their answer often informs my follow-up question: “do you regret your initial decision to leave your […]
It’s scary here. I can’t find my footing. I don’t feel the earth beneath me. I’m floating. Untethered. It’s a privilege to be here. To be a voyeur in people’s lives with my camera and tell their stories. To try and make meaning of what’s happened to them…of what happened to me. The road is […]
Street-level accoglienza (reception) is a concept that I developed while doing ethnographic research on migrant reception and solidarity initiatives in the Central Mediterranean between the years of 2014 and 2019. The concept is derived in part from Michael Lipsky’s “street-level bureaucrats”, i.e., those state actors who are thought to enact policies and give them shape […]