Identity on the Line
Identity on the Line

Webinar 5

Keynote speaker: Prof. Dr. Peter Gatrell:

Date: 23 October 2020, 11-12 AM CEST

Title: «Reckoning with Refugeedom: Refugee voices in modern world history»  


In this presentation Prof. Dr. Peter Gatrell shall engage with a key element of the project “Identity on the Line (I-ON)” by focusing on the ways in which key actors in the post-1945 refugee regime understood forced migration in Europe and negotiated the post-war international refugee regime. This is part of a larger collaborative research project that is conceived in broad terms as a means of recovering refugee voices from different times and places, in Europe and beyond. Our hope is that by examining refugees’ petitions and letters we can better understand their wishes, demands and aspirations in specific historical contexts. We also envisage the project as contributing to theoretical and methodological debates around the ‘voice’ of the refugee and around the ‘archive’.  His presentation draws in particular upon the extensive confidential individual case files compiled and archived by the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. Under conditions of considerable constraint – including the constraints imposed by UNHCR case officers – European refugees sought to convey their experiences and to articulate their demand for recognition and assistance.

Prof. Dr. Peter Gatrell teaches modern history at the University of Manchester where he is also affiliated to the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute. In addition to books on Russian economic and social history, his publications include a trilogy on refugee history: A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia during World War 1 (Indiana University Press, 1999); Free World? The Campaign to Save the World’s Refugees, 1956-1963 (Cambridge University Press, 2011); and The Making of the Modern Refugee (Oxford University Press, 2013). His latest book, The Unsettling of Europe: the Great Migration, 1945 to the Present, a new history of Europe seen through the lens of migration, appeared with Penguin Books and Basic Books in August 2019. Peter has directed several research projects on population displacement, state-building and social identity in the aftermath of the two world wars. In July 2018 he started a three-year collaborative research project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, entitled “Reckoning with refugeedom: refugee voices in modern history, 1919 to 1975”. See Peter is a Fellow of the British Academy (elected 2019) and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (elected 2011).


Please register here:

To listen to the recording, please click here