Knowing Refugees, Historically Speaking

18.10.2021, Vortrag, online

4th Bucerius Lecture of the German Historical Institute Washington | Speaker: Peter Gatrell (University of Manchester); Panelist / Discussant: Stacy Fahrenthold (UC Davis) | Sponsor: Institute of European Studies

Register here:

The title is a play on words designed to draw attention to the ways in which refugees came to be understood as a “problem” to be addressed (hence, “known”), but also to highlight how refugees grappled with their predicament and learned how to engage with institutional actors that operated within the dynamic refugee regime (hence, “knowing”). In a brief excursus, Peter Gatrell will talk about refugees who are unknown. As well as drawing upon the growing scholarship in refugee history, his remarks are also informed by ongoing research with the confidential individual case files held by UNHCR, Geneva, covering the period 1951 to 1975. 

Peter Gatrell recently retired from the University of Manchester. His publications include A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia during World War 1 (1999); Free World? The Campaign to Save the World’s Refugees, 1956-1963 (2011); and The Making of the Modern Refugee (2013). His latest book, The Unsettling of Europe: the Great Migration, 1945 to the Present, published by Penguin Books and Basic Books in 2019, was awarded the Nanovic Institute’s Laura Shannon Prize and Italy’s “Premio Cherasco”. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and led the AHRC-funded research project, “ Reckoning with refugeedom: refugee voices in modern history, 1919-1975”.

The lecture is part of an annual program that also includes a workshop for emerging scholars from Germany and the Northern America who present and discuss their research in “Histories of Migration: Transatlantic and Global Perspectives”. The Young Scholar Forum and the lecture are funded by the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, one of the major German private foundations active in the field of migration and transformation studies.