It has been widely recognized that refugees often remain outside or on the very margin of the history writing, both in general, international or global histories, as well as in national historiographies. On the other hand, the reinvigorated scientific interest and the calls for a better connection between history and the social sciences in recent years introduced alternative perspectives, reading refugees beyond the national.
This workshop invites contributions on countries customarily not associated with immigration or refugee protection and rather perceived as countries of emigration. It probes the ways refugees are written into (or omitted from) the local, national and transnational histories, with a focus on Europe and the history writing on the 19th and 20th century. The workshop is organized within the framework of the ERC-funded project “Unlikely refuge? Refugees and citizens in East-Central Europe in the 20th century”.
The workshop aims to provide a critical assessment of the state-of-the-art and to probe the integration of refugees into national historiographies (and other social science research on refugee history) as well as the connections to other historical subjects and narratives. Which refugee groups are reflected upon and possibly eulogized, and which are marginalized and excluded? Are refugees understood in group terms and discussed primarily in national and/or political terms, as temporary diasporas preparing to return to reconstruct their country? How is refugee history affected by the national historical master narratives and dominant themes?
We are interested in uncovering the agency of refugees in writing and framing their history and the role of local and group initiatives, including oral history projects and collection building. Moreover, we wish to position the scientist as an active participant in the debate. We want to understand not only how historians and other scientists process and order refugee history, but also how such research contributes to the changing perception, social action and state policy. For instance, can research on refugee history contribute to the rethinking of these countries as places of refuge?
The workshop will be conducted in English.