Commons and Learning to Live Together


Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Institute for Asian and African Studies, Gender and Media Studies for the South Asian Region (6 ECTS)
Thursdays 17:00 – 19:00 (CEST) / 18:00 - 20:00 (EEST)
14 WEEKS (12 April 2021 - 17 July 2021)


This course intends to subvert the relation of the academy with the “field” by bringing the field to the classroom - with all the challenges that such an interactive and experiential learning poses to the authority of the academy over questions of theory, method, and truth/representation. The course emerged and was designed out of the lives the island has shared with us all: refugees, migrants, activists, and researchers. The people who will share their experiences and reflections are or have been participants in collectives and/or direct actions that we are/were part of and support.
It is also shaped with theories of Autonomy & the autonomy of migration in the context of self-organization and self-representation. Apart from reflecting on the minor resistance points of migrants at the political level, which aim to bring the migrant existence far away from their definition as “bare life”, defined by Agamben, we will also explore the potentials of bringing the autonomy of migrants to the academic field as a “constitutive (subjective, creative and productive) power” (De Genova, Garelli and Tazzioli, 2018).

This digital research lab is co-organized with the research group “Beyond social cohesion: Global repertoires of living together (RePLITO)” and hosted at the Department of Gender and Media Studies for the South Asian Region at HU Berlin.

Please note that you will need to submit a one-paragraph motivation letter to be able to become a participant of this course.


A full outline of the course syllabus can be found here

Please note that there will be a preparatory meeting that will take place during the usual class hours one week before the class starts. In this meeting, we will introduce you how the platform works and we will offer technical support so that everybody is technically ready for the first session.


Nagehan Uskan lives in Lesbos Island (Greece). After studying cinema at Bologna and Lyon II Universities, she finished her PhD at the Sociology Department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul. She conducted a postdoctoral research on the topic of the visual self-representation of migration at the University of Fribourg, in Switzerland. She has been part of different grassroots visual media collectives with migrants in Lesbos Island.

Salim Nabi completed his master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies at York University, Toronto; after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at the same institution. Since 2016, he has researched the refugee situation on the Greek island, Lesbos. His most recent works have been concerned with the possibilities of an “affirmative biopolitics” emerging on this liminal island at the intersection of migration and anti-authoritarian movements. His current interests encompass an interdisciplinary approach to various topics such as Feminism, Commons, Co-Living beyond Anthropocentrism, Solidarity vs Humanitarianism in Refugee Settings on Europe’s Borders, Borderized Spaces and Subjectivities. His last publications are Invisible Lives as an Emerging Paradigm: Covid-19 and the Refugee Situation in Lesbos, Greece (Refugee Review vol. 5 – forthcoming), Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry (Book Review for Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees vol. 37 – forthcoming), The Human: The Living Being whose proper place is displacement. (Βορεια-Βορειοανατολικά, Μυτιληνη, Λεσβος, 2020).