Call for Papers: Migration and Socio-Political Innovation

Francesca Falk's picture
Call for Papers
June 5, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Contemporary History, Early Modern History and Period Studies, World History / Studies

What role does migration play in establishing new ways of living and in the organization of societies? We are calling for contributions for the conference “Migration and Socio-Political Innovation” (March 2nd, 2018, University of Fribourg). Papers tackling the subject of migration and socio-political innovation should either focus on concrete case studies or theoretical-methodological considerations. Contributions that also outlay possible links with the Digital Humanities are particularly encouraged. Socio-political innovation means the emergence, implementation and dissemination of new social and political practices in different areas of society. The conference aims to identify and analyze such societal transformations, which happen in relation to migration, and to explain their underlying conditions.

Both contemporary and historical debates often consider migration to be a problem. Thus, they frequently overlook the socio-political innovation resulting from different forms of migration.[1] As a result, the observation of history through the lens of migration not only expands the established state of knowledge, it also questions some fundamental historiographical assumptions.

Distancing itself from a neoliberal use of the term,[2] the conference also aims to verify whether the concept of socio-political innovation is suitable for the analysis of societal transformations in different social and political areas. Based on a wide meaning of ‘migration’, forms of internal as well as international mobility will be taken into consideration. In the keynote session, Michael Goebel (Professor for Global and Latin American History at the Free University of Berlin) will talk about Migration as a Motor of Change: Colonial Subjects in Interwar France and Decolonization.[3]

The twenty-minute presentations can be held in German, French, Italian, or English. Please submit your proposal including a short biography (approx. 300 words) until June 5, 2017, to the organising commitee: (Senior Lecturer in Contemporary History at University of Fribourg) / (the professional portal of the historical sciences in Switzerland). Travel and accommodation costs will be covered. Selected papers may be presented at the XXIII Congress of the International Committee of Historical Sciences, Poznań 2020 (Panel Migration and socio-political Innovation. Comparing historical Case Studies).


[1] For more detail on this see Falk, Francesca: Marignano da, Migration dort, Südafrika nirgends. Über eine gewollte Entkoppelung von Diskursen, in: traverse. Zeitschrift für Geschichte 3, 2015, p. 155–165.

[2] For a critical commentary on this see Grisolia, Francesco; Ferragina, Emanuele: Social Innovation on the Rise: yet another buzzword in time of austerity?, in: Utopias of Innovation from c.1830 to the Present 1, 2014, p. 169–179. Online: <>, 12.01.2016.

[3] Goebel, Michael: Anti-imperial metropolis. Interwar Paris and the seeds of Third-World nationalism, New York 2015; Goebel, Michael: 'The Capital of the Men without a Country': Migrants and Anticolonialism in Interwar Paris, in: American Historical Review 121 (5), 2016, p. 1444-1467.

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