I’ve had a detailed look at the new science of the genetics of human migration against the backdrop of current political haggling over migrants in my latest feature which is out now in Current Biology:

Genetic traces of mankind’s migrations
Current Biology Volume 25, Issue 9, 4 May 2015, Pages R345–R347


Summary and limited access to full text  

(drop me a line if you want a PDF)

(photo is mine, taken at the Cowley Road Carnival a few years ago)

…multiculturalism looks suspiciously like a disguise of transnational corporatism that causes, of necessity, havoc with a huge mass of displaced workers helplessly seeking jobs and sustenance. Los Angeles and New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong, Berlin and London are all teeming with “strange-looking” people. And U.S. academics quite properly study them as a plurality of presences. But before we look distantly at them and given them over to their specialists, we need to know why they are where they are. What are the forces driving them? How do they relate to our everyday life? Who is behind all this drifting? The plurality of cultures is a given of human life: “our own tradition” is a fabrication as it has always been, everywhere. It is impossible not to study cultures of others; the American curricula must include “alien” histories. But that is merely a beginning. In the recent rise of cultural studies and multiculturalism among cultural traders and academic administrators, inquiry stops as soon as it begins. What we need is a rigorous political and economic scrutiny rather than a gesture of pedagogic expediency. We should not be satisfied with recognizing the different subject-positions from different regions and diverse backgrounds. We need to find reasons for such differences–at least in the political and economic aspects–and to propose ways to erase such “differences,” by which I mean political and economic inequalities. To the extent that cultural studies and multiculturalism provide students and scholars with an alibi for their complicity in the [transnational corporate] version of neocolonialism, they are serving, once again, just as one more device to conceal liberal self-deception. By allowing ourselves to get absorbed into the discourse on “postcoloniality” or even post-Marxism, we are fully collaborating with the hegemonic ideology, which looks, as usual, as if it were no ideology at all.
—  Masao Miyoshi, “A Borderless World? From Colonialism to Transnationalism and the Decline of the Nation-State,” Critical Inquiry, Vol.19, No.4 (Summer 1993), pg.751

This one cartoon captures the crisis in the Mediterranean we’re all ignoring

Every year, thousands of people drown while attempting to migrate across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. In the most recent tragedy, hundreds died Saturday when a 70-foot boat carrying as many as 700 people capsized in Libyan waters. Just days before, nearly 400 drowned in a similar incident. And Europe is actively turning a blind eye.

Short-eared owl
Asio flammeus

Short-eared owls migrate back to Finland in March-April, although they occasionally spend the winter in Finland. The breeding population is estimated to be 2000-10,000 pairs with highest densities in Ostrobothnia

photo by Mika Rantaharju