Dr. Riggan Publishes on “Risky” Eritrean Migration to Europe

By Caitlin Burns | March 1, 2021


Arcadia University Professor of International Studies in Historical and Political Studies Dr. Jennifer Riggan has researched for years on Eritrea’s policies in terms of nationalism, education, and refugee migrations. Her most recent piece on the subject, about why refugees from the East Africa country would risk a dangerous migration to Europe, appeared on Feb. 28. 

“Why Eritrean refugees choose the risky migration to Europe,” co-authored with Dr. Amanda Poole, professor of Anthropology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was published with international outlets such as The Conversation, Modern Ghana, India Gazette, Beijing News, and International Travel News. The research presented in this article was from Dr. Riggan and Dr. Poole’s publication, “Time with/out Telos: Eritrean Refugees’ Precarious Choice of Im/possible Futures in Ethiopia and Beyond,” which appeared in Anthropological Quarterly in 2020.

“We conducted research with Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia to find out why they choose to move on rather than take advantage of the opportunity to get an education,” wrote Dr. Riggan and Dr. Poole in the article. “We discovered that although refugees are aware of the risks of leaving, there are risks to staying, including the despair of being stuck in ‘camp time’ with no prospects for a future.”

Dr. Riggan and Dr. Poole have a book under review, The Hosting State and Its Restless Guests: Time-Making, Mobility and Containment among Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia, about this research.

Dr. Riggan is the recipient of the 2018 Georg Arnhold Visiting Professorship on Education for Sustainable Peace and a 2016 Teaching/Research J. William Fulbright Foreign Fellowship award. In 2018, her book, The Struggling State: Nationalism, Mass Militarization, and the Education of Eritrea, earned honorable mention from the Comparative and International Education Society’s Jackie Kirk Outstanding Book Award Committee.

She is currently a Regional Faculty Fellow with the Wolf Humanities Center at the University of Pennsylvania.