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Global Migration on the Ground

Widen your understanding of how migration is connected to cities, territories, and mobility in a transdisciplinary and transnational perspective

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
Field of studies
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
16 February- 12 April 2024

This BIP entitled “Global Migration on the Ground” is a transdisciplinary collaborative program that will offer a broad perspective on migration as a global phenomenon, connecting research and practice. Connected to both mobility and displacement, incorporation and exclusion, global migration carries both benefits and challenges. This ambivalence has been overshadowed in the last years by negative interpretations, mainly connected to the “refugee crisis” and its consequences – hardship, trauma and loss of life, as well as fevered political debates. It has become clear that many European countries accept migrants only with reservation, especially refugees.

Meanwhile, many efforts have been made to improve the way migration is globally governed, involving the cooperation between states, civil society, and private sector organizations. This cooperative approach is warrant by the highly diverse causes of migration: conflict, extreme violence, severe economic and political instability, environmental and climate change, but also participation in student exchange and expatriate programmes as well as demands for qualified labor. New strategies have been developed to help migrants settle and assist them in reconstructing their lives. Still, much work remains to be done to find solutions that work for everyone.

In this course, students will be challenged to reflect on the way the topic is discussed in academia, the media, and politics. Fostering cooperation within the CIVIS alliance and with partners in civil society, the event aims to make students aware that global issues do not have simple solutions — they demand cooperation between different academic specializations and multiple stakeholders. Moreover, participants will be in contact with researchers, students, and organizations from different European countries where global migration stems from different causes, creates diverse effects and is dealt with in various ways. This will support the development of critical thinking and open new possibilities for international cooperation and European solutions.

Main topics addressed

  • Migration towards and within Europe and the question of European citizenship

  • The relationship between migration and development questions

  • Demographic aspects of international migration, including the use of big data

  • The perspective of human rights on migration

  • Ethnographic methods to understand migration in urban spaces

  • Specific characteristics of migration in the Mediterranean areas

  • Migration in history

Learning outcomes

Students taking the course will develop:

  • Differentiated knowledge on migration from the perspective of different disciplines
  • Skills in participating in transdisciplinary debates on migration and their relationship with concrete problems faced by civil society organizations
  • Critical thinking on global migration processes, reflecting on its main challenges and solutions
  • Skills in working in international teams to solve common problems
Dates: 16 February - 12 April 2024 Language: English (B2)
Location: Tübingen, Germany ECTS: 3 *
Format: Blended Workload: 83 hours

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. 

Physical mobility

The physical mobility part will be running from 8 to 12 April 2024 in Tübingen, Germany.

Students will deepen your knowledge on global migration through diverse activities in class and around the city. Moreover, the programm of the physical component merge as follows:

  • The on- site part of the course will start with an opening event with international guests working with global migration in international organizations. They will share their experiences and discuss with the participants. Afterwards, we will have a welcome dinner.
  • In the next days, the morning sessions will be dedicated to an interdisciplinary dialog on global migration with different international lectures:

- “International migration as a component of population change” with Prof. Elena Ambrosetti (SUR)

- “The free movement of persons in the EU” with Prof. Francesco Battaglia (SUR)

- “Climate change and migration (with a focus on SSA)” with Prof. Pierluigi Montalbano (SUR)

- “The reflexive turn and the crisis of representation in migration studies” with Prof. Boris Nieswand (EKUT)

- “Regulating the Poor through Internal Borders: The EU in Historical and International Perspectives” with Prof. Martin Seeleib-Kaiser (EKUT)

  • During the afternoon sessions, students be invited to engage actively with the topic of global migration through practical activities. Firstly, students will be trained in ethnographic methods to learn how to observe and understand global migration in urban spaces with the following workshops:

- “Principles of the ethnographic method in migration research” with Prof. Reinhard Johler (EKUT)

- “A sound ethnography of migration: Methods, theories and concepts to do ethnography of/with sounds” with Jun.-Prof. Carola Lorea (EKUT)

- “Learning with the eye: An introduction to photography as ethnographic research method” with Dr. Claire Bullen (EKUT)

The activities will close that day at the exhibition “Boulevard National: Beyond the cliché”, produced and organized by Abed Abidat (photographer), Claire Bullen (anthropologist/sociologist, EKUT) and Amel Zerourou (architect/art historian) (t.b.c.).

  • Next afternoon, students will meet local actors and visit organizations involved with global migration in the city of Tübingen. They will learn about their daily work and the practical challenges and opportunities they face. Participating organizations are:

- Asylzentrum Tübingen e. V. (, with Ruben Malina

- Abteilung Soziales - Fachdienst für Geflüchtete ( with Julie Hirtt

This activity will be organized by Dr. Iris-Niki Nikolopoulos, Nina Rösler and Franziska Müller from the University of Tübingen. In the evening, students will watch a movie related to global migration and engage in a discussion with the director (t.b.c.).

  • In the third afternoon session, students will visit different neighbourhoods, learning about migrant life in the city in the activity “In the footsteps of migrants in Tübingen”. Working in groups, students will choose one of four routes prepared by Manuel Dieterich (EKUT) and follow the instructions to find places, explore diverse streets and collect impressions related to the discussions had during the lectures and with civil society organizations, using the methods learned in the workshops. The collected impressions would form a small exhibition to be organized in the last day of our week.
  • The last day will be reserved for the group works and preparation of a group presentation to respond to a challenge posed in the beginning of the event. In the closing ceremony, there will be a guest lecture who will comment the small exhibition and engage in a conversation with the participants to wrap up the knowledge gained in this course.

Virtual part

The virtual part will be running from 16 February to 15 March 2024 .

The course will start with five online sessions on Fridays between February 16 and 15 March 2024 (12.00-16.00 CET). Each session will be divided into two parts. In the first part (12.00-14.00 CET), five lectures will be offered, whilst in the second part (14.00-16.00 CET), students will attend workshops on Design Thinking and three civil society organizations.

Following an international and interdisciplinary approach to global migration, lectures will be offered by professors from different areas and countries. Students will learn how migration is understood and experienced in different parts of the world, gaining insights into historical developments and current debates. The lectures are the following:

  • 16 February 2024: “Africa-India Migrations and Urbanism in Delhi” with Jun.-Prof. Bani Gill (EKUT)
  • 23 February 2024: “Current perspectives in migration history” with Prof. Jan C. Jansen (EKUT)
  • 01 March 2024: “Migration and Development” with Prof. Raffaele Cadin (SUR)
  • 08 March 2024: “Cultural Consequences of Migration: Artistic Creation in Exile in Europe and the Mediterranean” with Dr. Adélie Chevée (AMU)
  • 15 March 2024: “In transit: Syrians in Beirut, Marseille, Le Havre, New York (1880-1914)” with Dr. Celine Regnard (AMU)

During the workshops, students will collaborate with civil society organizations that are active in the field of global migration in a transdisciplinary way. Furthermore, they will learn how to use the method of design thinking, getting to know more about the daily work of these organizations, and work in groups to discuss solution approaches to the organizations challenges. Students are expected to use the knowledge acquired during the lectures and workshops to propose creative and well-grounded solutions. Participating civil society organizations are:

- Acta Vista (, with Florian Zappa

- SOS Mediterranee (, with Shawn Simpson

- UNICEF (, with Enza Roberta Petrilo

The workshops will be organized by Dr. Iris-Niki Nikolopoulos, Nina Rösler, Franziska Müller and Charoula Fotiadou from the University of Tübingen.


This course is open to Bachelor's and Master's students at CIVIS member universities enrolled in the following fields of study: Migration Studies, Sociology, Economics, Demography, Mediterranean Studies, Law, Urban Studies, Cultural Studies, History, or any other fields related.

 A level B2 in English is also required. 

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

This course is also open to students with the same academic profile, who are enrolled at a CIVIS strategic partner university in Africa. Please check here, if you can apply and this particular course is open to applications from your university. Successful applicants will receive an Erasmus+ grant covering travel and subsistence costs during their stay. Applicants should be willing to extend their stay at the host university for 1-3 weeks for additional research and/or training purposes.

Application process

Interested students should apply by filling in the online application form by 7 November 2023. 

Students will be selected and evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • CV
  • Motivation letter
  • Level of language- English skills
  • An interest in the topic attested through these aspects as follows (please, mention them explicitly in your motivation letter and attach proofs for each one of them- each one counts one point):

(a) Personal engagement in civil society organizations linked to migration issues

(b) Visit of seminars on migration

(c) Own research (Bachelor or Master thesis)

(d) Own experiences as or with migrants

(e) Future academic / professional perspectives

Apply here


In order to receive the certificate of attendance and the 3 ECTS credits related to this course, students are required to undertake the following activities:

  • Attend at least four blocks of lessons during the virtual part
  • Make a group presentation in the last online workshop session
  • Attend at least 80% of the activities during the physical part
  • Make a group presentation responding to the challenge proposed in this course

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Elena Ambrosetti is a demographer with PhD at Sciences Po. She currently works as Associate Professor at the MEMOTEF Department at Sapienza Università di Roma. She works on international migration in Italy, with special attention to migrants’ integration, migration policies, sexual and reproductive health of migrant populations. Additionally, she studies demography of the Mediterranean countries, more specifically her research focuses on fertility transition in Egypt adopting a gender perspective. In her research she uses quantitative methods and yet she is opened to new research fields and to multidisciplinary research.

Francesco Battaglia is Associate professor in European Union Law at the Department of Political Science, Sapienza Università di Roma," where he teaches European Union Law and Institutions. Author of several publications, including Il Mediatore europeo (Cacucci editore, 2020).

Claire Bullen is a researcher and lecturer at the Chair of Migration and Diversity at the Institute for Sociology at the University of Tübingen. Her research questions relate to understanding urban place-making and urban change, possibilities for urban comparison, and the potential of infrastructure to tease out multi-scalar relations around the globe. She has carried out fieldwork in the UK, France and Algeria and her current research project involves an ethnographic study of a street in Marseille, which is being examined as part of a wider project looking at urban transformations around the Mediterranean.

Raffaele Cadin is Associate Professor of International Law at the Department of Political Sciences of Sapienza Università di Roma where he teaches “International Law”, “International Organization” and “International Law of Economy and Development”. He directs the Master in “International protection of human rights Maria Rita Saulle” and the High Level Training Course “The role of women in peace processes and in the mediation of conflicts for human rights” of the Sapienza University of Rome. His research focuses on international law, in particular on collective security, human rights, international organization, international development law and international terrorism.

Adélie Chevée is a postdoctoral researcher at Aix-Marseille Université (SoMuM/Mesopolhis/Mucem). Her work, ethnographic and qualitative, is based on the two shores of the Mediterranean Sea and is focused on three broad issues: social movements, forced migrations, and the politics of knowledge and cultural representation.

Manuel Dieterich is a Sociologist at the University of Tübingen. He is currently working on his PhD about the dynamics in and between two adjacent neighborhoods with diverse and unequal population groups in the west of Johannesburg. The research focus is on the nexus of how the perception of threats influences through moralizations the (re-)configuration of the local diversity. Using an ethnographic approach, his research perspective is relational, focusing on interactional practices. His research interests include the sociology of morality, neighborhood/urban studies, social inequality, migration and diversity and the sociology of knowledge.

Charoula Maria Fotiadou, M.Sc. in Archaeological Sciences, is a previous member of the Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Team at the University of Τübingen, with experience in creating educational material, conceptualizing and conducting workshops on Service-Learning and Design Thinking. Currently, a freelance project manager, workshop conductor, lecturer and web designer/developer.

Bani Gill is a Junior Professor at the Institute for Sociology, University of Tübingen. She is a qualitative sociologist grounded in ethnographic sensibilities and a regional focus on South Asia and contemporary Africa-India encounters. Her research interests include urbanisms, migration, race and racialization, gender, and the sociology of law, bureaucracy and the state.

Jan C. Jansen is Professor of Modern History (19th–20th Centuries) at the University of Tübingen. Prior to joining the University of Tübingen, he was Assistant/Associate Professor of Global History of Mobility (18th–20th Centuries) at the University of Duisburg-Essen and a research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. In the past years, he also held research and lecturer positions at the George Washington University, Georgetown University, the University of Konstanz, the Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC) in Tunis, and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

Reinhard Johler is a Professor of Empirische Kulturwissenschaft in the University of Tübingen and current director of the Ludwig Uhland Institute. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Vienna, where he taught until coming to Tübingen in 2002. He was an Invited Visiting Professor at the École Normale Superieure in Paris in 2004, President of the German Volkskunde Association from 2007 to 2011 and is currently director of the Institut für Donauschwäbische Geschichte und Landeskunde and President of the Johann-Gottfried-Herder Forschungsrat. His research interests include migration, diversity, and cultural processes in Europe, war experience, and cultures of catastrophe.

Carola Lorea is Assistant Professor of Rethinking Global Religion at the University of Tübingen. She was a Senior Researcher at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, and held research fellowships at the International Institute for Asian Studies (Leiden), Gonda Foundation, and the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg. She is interested in sound, performance, oral traditions, and popular religious movements in South Asia. Her first monograph is titled Folklore, Religion, and the Songs of a Bengali Madman (2016). Her current book project is Communities of Sound: Religion, Displacement and Caste in the Bay of Bengal.

Pierluigi Montalbano is Full Professor of International Economic Policy at Sapienza Università di Roma and Associate Professor at the same Faculty of the University of Sussex (UK). He is also Director of MSc. on "Migration and Development", at Sapienza Università di Roma. His research interests lie at the crossover between International Economics and Development with a focus on migration, vulnerability, food insecurity, global value chains and impact evaluation for development programs.

Franziska Müller, M. A. in Intercultural Communication, Psychology and Political Science, is a staff member at the sub-section Service-Learning and Civic Engagement at the University of Tübingen. She is responsible for coordinating, designing and implementing courses for students within the CIVIS Micro-programme Civic Engagement as well as implementing training on Service-Learning for lecturers.

Boris Nieswand is Professor for Sociology of Migration and Diversity at the University of Tübingen. He has obtained his PhD in social anthropology from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg in 2008 and his diploma in sociology from the University of Bielefeld in 2000. Boris Nieswand was a visiting professor at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder, a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen and a PhD-candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. He has published on transnationalism, migration theory, charismatic Christianity, diaspora formation, diversity, migration regimes, threat and ethnography.

Iris-Niki Nikolopoulos holds a PhD in Political Science and heads the Transdisciplinary Course Programme, including the Service-Learning and Civic Engagement sub-section at the University of Tübingen. Since 2013, her focus has been on interdisciplinary teaching and the development of transdisciplinary teaching and learning formats in Higher Education in cooperation with community partners. Since 2020, she has been involved in the continuous development of the CIVIS Micro-Programme Civic Engagement as coordinator and lecturer.

Glaucia Peres da Silva is a sociologist, specialized in globalization and cross-border processes. Her PhD in economic sociology focused on the formation of global markets, analyzing the case of the world music market. At the University of Tübingen, she is responsible for the development of Global Awareness Education with a focus on the Humanities and Social Sciences. The focus of her work is the inter- and transdisciplinary teaching on globalization, international networking and development of transfer projects.

Céline Regnard is a lecturer in modern history at the Aix-Marseille Université, and director of the Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l’homme at l’UMR TELEMMe. She has written extensively on the history of migration, crime and labor in the modern period, with most recently a book on transnational history of Syrian transit migration, En Transit. Les Syriens à Beyrouth, Marseilles, Le Havre, New York (1880-1914) (Anamosa, 2022).

Nina Rösler, M. A. in Peace Research and International Politics, is a staff member at the sub-section Service-Learning and Civic Engagement at the University of Tübingen. She is responsible for designing transdisciplinary Service-Learning courses, training lecturers in the Service-Learning methodology, supporting civically active student initiatives as well as coordinating and networking with community partners.

Martin Seeleib-Kaiser is Professor of Comparative Public Policy at the University of Tübingen. He studied Political Science, American Studies and Public Law at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich (Germany) (MA 1989; Dr phil 1992) and was awarded the venia legendi in political science (habilitation) by Bremen University (Germany) (2000). Prior to his appointment at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in 2017, he held appointments at the University of Oxford (2004-2017), Duke University (North Carolina, USA) (1999-2002) and Bremen University (1993-1999; 2002-2004). His research focuses on the politics of social policy and comparative social policy analysis.