04.07. – 07.07.


Third Annual International Seminar in Historical Refugee Studies

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21), Duisburg

The purpose of this seminar is to promote the historical study of refugees, who are too often regarded as a phenomenon of recent times. By viewing the problem of refugees from a historical perspective, the seminar seeks to complicate and contextualize our understanding of peoples who have fled political or religious conflicts, persecution, and violence. By bringing together 14 advanced PhD students and early postdocs from different parts of the world whose individual research projects examine refugees in different times and places, we intend to give a sense of purpose to this emerging field of study and demonstrate the value of viewing the plight of refugees from a historical perspective.
More information can be found on the conference website.
Keynote Lecture
“Humanitarian Time and Refugee Presence: On Palestinian Lives in Extended Displacement”
Humanitarian assistance regimes, displacement experiences, and life in refugee camps create disruptions in temporality. The repetitive aspects of humanitarian assistance, the monotony of life in a refugee camp, and the ways that displacement cuts people off from the experiences of their past and denies them opportunities to imagine their futures, all seem to reduce life to an unending present. But, even as disruptions in time are real, humanitarian temporalities are quite variegated. Life in humanitarianism is not a singular present, but layers of multiple, often quite different presents. Considering the case of Palestinian refugees, who have been displaced for more than seventy years, this talk explores the varieties of humanitarian times. Particularly, it takes up how people have lived in, and sometimes against, humanitarian time. It investigates how refugees make claims, take action, and get-by over years and decades of displacement.About the Speaker: Ilana Feldman is Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs at George Washington University. Her research focuses on the Palestinian experience, both inside and outside of historic Palestine, examining practices of government, humanitarianism, policing, displacement, and citizenship. She is the author of Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917-67, Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza under Egyptian Rule, Life Lived in Relief: Humanitarian Predicaments and Palestinian Refugee Politics; and co-editor (with Miriam Ticktin) of In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care.