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A Refugee Odyssey: A story of globalization and Somali Bantu refugees

220 Eggers Hall

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Somalia's civil war, which began in 1990, produced a flood of refugees, many of whom have resettled in the U.S. This paper (and its accompanying photographs) traces the fate of one family's story to show how global events have shaped their choices and opportunities for four generations, from Ethiopia to Lewiston, Maine. Even though refugees are a product of global politics, their future is constrained by nationalist categories and discourses. Catherine Besteman is Professor of Anthropology at Colby College. She is the author or editor of 6 books, including Transforming Cape Town (California), Unraveling Somalia (Penn), and Why America's Top Pundits are Wrong (California, coedited with Hugh Gusterson). Her newest volume, The Insecure American(California, coedited with Hugh Gusterson) will be published this month. She studies Somali politics, Somali Bantu refugee experience in Maine, and post apartheid cultural transformation and activism in Cape Town.  

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