“Roots & Routes: Conversations on Displacement and Belonging” is a weekly radio show at  WESU Middletown 88.1FM. You can listen to it live Mondays 1:30pm 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.

Happy listening!

Season 2

Ep. 9: The Sounds of Migration (hosted by Paul Willems)

Music plays an important role in the construction of identity, and migrants use music brought from their previous homes to maintain a sense of culture and unity. Join Paul Willems as he takes us on journey to the Latvian-American community and its songs.

Ep. 8: America: The Promised Land? (hosted by Josiah Bennett and Daniel Goldelman)

In this episode, we hear of two very different histories of immigration to the United States. Josiah Bennett describes the difficulties faced by Vietnamese immigrants, who are perceived in the shadow of the Vietnam War. Daniel Goldelman talks about how Jews from Russia and the Soviet Union saw in the United States a hope for a better future.

Ep. 7: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict  (hosted by Benjy Kline and Jacob Abbisso)

In this show, we hear two approaches to understanding the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Benjy Kline speaks to Muslim and Jewish religious figures about violence, but also the potential for peace. Jacob Abbisso addresses anti-Zionism and the anti-occupation movement on U.S. campuses by talking to various members of the Wesleyan Jewish community.

Ep. 6: Gender and the Refugee Crisis (hosted by Alex Rothenberg and Kathryn Campbell)

This week, Alex Rothenberg talks to the award-winning play Iraqi American playwright and actress Heather Raffo about her play Noura, which highlights gender power dynamics as part of the refugee experience. Kathryn Campbell approaches this question from a different perspective discussing the plight of LGBTQ+ Iranian refugees and the attempts of one organization to help them.

Ep. 5: Culture in Transition (hosted by Samela Pynas and Sofia Chartove)

In this episode, Samela Pynas and Sofia Chartove discuss what it means to try to come to terms with a minority identity in the United States. Samela describes the experiences of coming of age as an Haitian migrant, whereas Sofia elaborates how choice of clothing, in particular the burka, can save as an assertion of a Muslim identity.

Ep. 4: Reporting Update – part 2 (hosted by Stephanie Dukich)

Join Stephanie this week as she brings the voices of our reporters covering various themes ranging from anti-Zionism on the Wesleyan campus to the music of the Latvian diasporic community in the United States.

Ep. 3: Reporting Update (hosted by Stephanie Dukich)

This is the first of a special two-part episode showcasing all of the themes covered in this season. Join host Stephanie Dukich as she presents short reports on themes ranging from LGBTQ+ Iranian refugees to coming-of-age as an Haitian migrant in the United States.

Ep. 2: Humanitarian Help (hosted by Daisy Mayer and Sadie Robb)

Daisy Mayer discusses the hazards facing those who suffer climate change but are still not recognized internationally as refugees. What can be done to assist those people in such precarious condition? Sadie Robb discusses the influx of refugees into Bosnia, the government’s response, and one soup kitchen that tries to make life a little bit better.

Ep. 1: The Right to Protest (hosted by Serena Chow and Sasha Linden-Cohen)

In the first episode of the season, Serena Chow takes us to the complex history of Hong Kong leading to the recent protests, and the importance of Taiwan as a refuge place for protesters. Sasha Linden-Cohen discusses the current housing conditions in Ramapo New York. It is a story of a small town that exposes the intersection of politics, religion, and migrant labor.


Season 1

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.

Ep. 7: Refugeehood and Jewish Identity (hosted by Maya Gomberg and Adina Gitomer)

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.

Ep. 6: Space and Time in the Politics of Displacement (hosted by Stephanie Dukich and Shani Erdman)

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

Ep. 5: Searching for a New Home (hosted by Shayna Dollinger and Thao Phan)

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.

Ep. 4: The Role of Education (hosted by Noa Azulai and Kyla Frieden)

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.

Ep. 1: Christianity and Refuge Places (hosted by Sophia Korostoff-Larsson and Monica Rao)

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.

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