Giving History its Place in Migration and Refugee Debates and Research

Elodie Saubatte's picture
June 23, 2016 to June 24, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Social History / Studies, World History / Studies

Workshop organized by Jan Willem Duyvendak (Paris IAS fellow) and Christophe Bertossi (IFRI).


In the current debates concerning refugees, we observe, in some European countries, at least three ways in which history tends to 'disappear':
(1) the past is either absent because it is unknown (it thus looks as if we have never dealt with refugees before...)
(2) actual developments are put in a quasi-historical perspective, by claiming that certain countries have always known certain types of policies, resulting in a rather static and a-historical picture as well;
(3) migrants are urged to leave their histories home.

This seminar will look into ways to do 'justice' to history, both in the political debate and in scholarly work.


Thursday 23rd

9:30         Arriving, coffee and welcome

10:00        Jan Willem Duyvendak (Amsterdam / Paris IEA)
                 Remembering migration past in Amsterdam and the Netherlands

11:00        Christophe Bertossi (Paris)
                 History and moral boundaries in contemporary debates about French

12:00        Coffee break

12:15        Nancy Foner (New York)
                 The US as a classic immigration country: the uses and abuses of history

13:15        Lunch break

14:30        Paolo Boccagni (Trento)
                 Giving migrants' biographical history its place - through home studies. A
                 case-study from Italy

15:30        Yannick Coenders (Amsterdam)
                 Disconnecting uncomfortable pasts: explaining the blackness of blackface
                 in the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition

16:30        Coffee break

16:45        Tibor Dessewffy (Budapest)
                 Dreaming homogeneous – the alternate currents of history in Hungarian
                 public discourse

17:45        Concluding the first day

Friday 24th

9:30         Oliver Esteves (Lille) 
                The centrality of the American ghetto motif in British race relations debates:
                a confusing continuum

10:30        Paul Mepschen (Leiden)
                 The genesis of Dutch autochthony. Displacement, nostalgia and

11:30        Coffee break

11:45        Catherine Perron (Paris)

12:45        Concluding discussion

13:15        Lunch break

14:30        Lecture by Nancy Foner:
                 "The Not So Good Old Days: How the US Became a Multicultural Society”



Contact Info: 

Paris Institute for Advanced Study
17 quai d'Anjou
Hôtel de Lauzun
75004 Paris

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