“Roots & Routes: Conversations on Displacement and Belonging” is a bi-weekly radio show at WESU Middletown 88.1FM. You can listen to it live every other Wednesday at 6pm or here on the website after airing. Our shows cover a variety of issues and places, ranging from Chaldean Christians in Michigan to Jews in Uganda, from an art collective in London to Syrian refugees in Jordan’s classrooms.
The show is presented, produced, and researched by students of the class RELI213 Refugees & Exiles: Religion in the Diaspora at Wesleyan University. You can find more information on the course in the menu above.
Ep. 9: All That’s Left of Birthright (hosted by Carol Dalgarno and Marni Loffman)
In the final episode of the season, Carol Dalgarno and Marni Loffman delve into the Jewish activism in Israel\Palestine. Dalgarno discusses the politics behind Birthright trips and the opposition they raise among some young American Jews, whereas Loffman tells the story of All That’s Left, an anti-occupation collective formed by diasporist Jews living in Israel.
Ep. 8: Syrian Refugees in Jordan (hosted by Noa Street-Sachs and Stella Ramsey)
Many of the Syrian refugees find their way to the neighboring country Jordan. In this segment, Noa Street-Sachs discusses the shortcomings of the “double-shift” schooling system meant to address the shortage of classrooms and teachers for the influx of refugee school-age children in Jordan. She is followed by Stella Ramsey, who continues to develop the theme by describing the mental trauma inflicted on Syrian refugee children and how one organization is trying to combat it by empowering girls through sports.
Maya Gomberg discusses the impact of Jewish refugeehood on Jewish activism in the United States, and the shift in motivation over generations. She interviews Jewish women and activists of three generations, Yael Fisher, Danielle Klainberg, and Anna Ornstein for insight. In the second segment, Adina Gitomer examines the revival of Yiddish among young American Jews and the relation between language and diaspora.
In the first segment, Stephanie Dukich explores the ways that the top-down structure of refugee camps can create physical and social complications for refugees. She highlights the benefits of dismantling typical refugee camps in favor of more organic, long-term settlements. In the second segment, Shani Erdman examines the role that media and art play in the political realm by analyzing the public’s reaction to the photo of Alan Kurdi, which spread across the globe online in 2015. She learns more about the subject from Professor Peter Rutland of Wesleyan University
The Abayudaya are a Jewish community in Uganda who feel strong ties to Israel but are not allowed to emigrate there (Aliyah) by the Israeli Ministry of Interior. Shayna Dollinger brings their story. Thao Phan follows with the unique double-bind of Vietnamese immigrants and citizens of the United States: On the one hand, there are expected to behave like a “model minority”; on the other hand, their fate is intricately intertwined in the US psyche with the trauma of Vietnam War.
Noa Azulai explores the special risk for scholars and teachers in conflict zones and the unique difficulties facing them when immigrating. Noa highlights The New University in Exile consortium helps providing refugee scholars a network and host institutions in the US. Kyla Frieden presents the work done by Paper Airplanes, a person-to-person organization striving to provide necessary language skills to refugees by connecting them through Skype to English-speaking university students.
Ep. 3: The Health of Migrants (hosted by Zachary Farnsworth and Lauren Fosnocht)
Zachary Farnsworth presents the difficult working conditions of Wesleyan University’s custodial staff, many of whom come from a migrant background, and what students, staff, and faculty can do to improve this situation. Lauren Fosnocht talks to Dr. Steve Larson, who heads Puentes de Salud, or Bridges to Health, a health clinic in Philadelphia which treats undocumented migrants.
Ep. 2: Art and the Refugee Crisis (hosted by Sanam Godbole and Sam Leter)
Sanam Godbole introduces Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s play The Jungle, which recently finished its acclaimed run in NYC, and the role theater has in humanizing the refugee crisis and making it less abstract. Sam Leter continues this theme in a conversation with Lily Parrot of the Migration Collective, a UK based organization that creates installations, art shows, and a films festival dedicated to the subject.
Sophia Korstoff-Larsson discusses the decision of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden CT to become a safe sanctuary space to protect people from ICE. She is followed by Monica Rao, who discusses the challenges faced by Chaldean Christians coming from Iraq to the United States.