Author Archives: Nursyazwani

Nursyazwani is interested in refugees’ everyday struggles to rethink new kinds of politics emerging from the global south. Her research interests revolve around questions of citizenship, violence, politics, refugee political subjectivity, and migration. She has been working with refugees, particularly Rohingya refugees, in Malaysia since 2017, and more recently, with resettled Rohingya refugees in Chicago. She received her M.Soc.Sci. from the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore, where her research focused on the co-construction of refugee legibility among Rohingya in Malaysia. Previously, she was a Research Associate at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.
An older couple sits side-by-side on a small red sofa, against a light blue wall. The man wears a green shirt and a plaid sarong. The woman wears a black hijab and a flowery skirt. In front of the sofa are two brightly colored pink and yellow rugs, with green and black patterns. Behind the sofa are a number of pieces of clothing, hung up and spread out. There is a white wall on one end of the room, and a window with a square grill at the other end.

“Legibility by Invitation”: Rohingya Refugees and the Struggle for Political Recognition

Once, in mid-August 2018 in a café tucked away in Klang Valley, Malaysia, Husin, my Rohingya research collaborator, and I sat with Fatimah, a young Rohingya woman. As it was after eight in the evening, I asked if she was worried that she might be detained by the police. “Ah Kak, that’s because the police just want money… if you know how to talk, you don’t have to pay bribe,” Fatimah explained to me in Malay before continuing, “kalau mereka mau tangkap saya, jemputlah . Saya ada UN card, saya tak takut. ” (emphasis mine). For Fatimah and other Rohingya refugees I have met in Malaysia, the notion of invite extends to their desire to be seen not just as refugees, but as Rohingya refugees. (read more...)