This panel aims to investigate how refugees conceive and make sense of time while inhabiting various contexts where they are "in transit", and how different imaginations of the past and the future influence their present lives.
How can the past and future be, when the past no longer is, and the future is not yet? As for the present, if it were always present and never moved on to become the past, it would not be time, but eternity" Augustine of Hippo
This panel aims to investigate how refugees on the move make sense of "time" and how different imaginations of the past and future influence refugees' present lives. The reality of refugees living in a condition of transit, perceived or real, is often shaped by institutionally framed futures (repatriation, integration, resettlement) and requirements of demonstrable pasts (persecution, traumatic events). As part of navigating their present realities and coping with challenges of daily life, refugees are themselves engaged in achieving desired futures often imagined "elsewhere", and in managing relationships with past homelands, travels, etc. Drawing on theoretical debates about refugees' movements, aspirations, and imagination (e.g. Malkki 1995; Appadurai 2004; Horst 2006), this panel invites original ethnographic contributions which explore conceptions and practices through which refugees make sense of their "time" while living on the move. Presenters are encouraged to investigate the interaction of imagination and reality through questions that might include: What future projects, memories, and selves are engendered in refugees' movements among various geographical contexts? How are refugees' everyday practices productive of or tempered by imagination of the future or the past? What implications can the focus on conceptions of time have for ethnographic research on refugees and migration?