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An Evening with Mohsin Hamid

Last week, award winning author, Mohsin Hamid, spoke to an overflowing crowd of students, faculty and community members at the Nasher Museum of Art about ubiquity of human migration. Hamid emphasized the idea that we are all migrants whether across space or time and the kinds of dislocations his work highlights are the essence of all human societies. In a discussion that shared how his own experience of migrancy has shaped his writing, he emphasized how the romanticization of a pure, fictional past and fears of an apocalyptic future together create a xenophobic present. This present is one we will likely look back upon in shame.

Hamid encouraged the audience to combat such xenophobic impulses by embracing universal truths about migration and refugees.  Whether connecting with others across vast distances via iPhones or becoming virtual refugees from our own past as our childhood recedes, citizens of the West would do well to reflect on how the rhythms of their daily lives often have much in common with those of refugees.

The event was jointly hosted by The Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Franklin Humanities Institute. Hamid was a guest of the Ethics, Leadership and Global Citizenship FOCUS cluster. The students in the cluster all read his latest novel, Exit West. In addition to his talk Hamid met with different groups of undergraduates, graduate students and faculty during his stay.