Displaced Hospitalities, a Conceptual History of Hospitality and Migration

Hospitality is an ancient and central value in human cultures around the globe. In world religions and cultural myths, the stranger must be received hospitably and offered food and shelter – and the stranger is sometimes revealed to be a god or angel in disguise. The connection between hospitality and health is suggested by the fact that “hospitality” and “hospital” share an etymology in the Latin word hospitālitās. The ancient law of hospitality conflicts with the laws of the state and the refugee regime, as manifested in the litigation of asylum, shrinking aid and resettlement, detention, and transformation of borders into warzones. These policies make a person’s presence in a place illegal, as if the ground, even the air one breathes is jealously, inhospitably owned. This book-length conceptual history asks: Were borders ever – and could they eventually be – spaces of hospitality instead of violence?  

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After Meeting Five of the Migrants Sent to Martha’s Vineyard: Sanctuary and Hospitality by Carrie Preston