The overall purpose of the panel is to offer reflection and commentary on the possibilities for a genuine decolonisation of research on African mobilities through research-based analyses rather than opinion-based conjecture.
Since the 2015 European refugee crisis, irregular migration across the Mediterranean Sea has become central to EU immigration policy, and a dominant topic of wider debates and concerns regarding the governance of migration and mobility. In these discourses, African migrants have increasingly become the targets of familiar colonial stereotypes and prejudice. This Eurocentric and hostile atmosphere has left migration researchers in a delicate position between the academic urge to design and conduct research 'beyond the categories' (cf. Bakewell 2008) of popular discourses and an inclination to engage in these discourses in order to challenge their underlying assumptions. At the same time, global academia is in the midst of renewed debates and interventions against persistent inequalities and prejudice in African and Africanist higher education. This panel, convened by the Collaborative Research Group on African Migration, Mobility, and Displacement (AMMODI), invites contributions that explicitly engage with the parallel trends of restrictive public discourses on African migration and the calls for decolonising our analytical categories and assumptions. Authors are encouraged to suggest theoretically innovative approaches to African mobilities; to present empirical cases that challenge dominant (policy and/or public) assumptions regarding the motives, trajectories, circumstances, and effects of different forms of movement; or to outline policy analyses that go against the grain of the Eurocentric status quo. The overall purpose of the panel is thereby to offer reflection and commentary on the possibilities for a genuine decolonisation of research on African mobilities in all their diversity, through research-based analyses rather than opinion-based conjecture.