In this presentation Peter Gatrell shall talk about some of the conceptual and methodological issues that he has encountered in writing refugee history, and how he has attempted to deal with them. He shall connect these semi-autobiographical reflections to a discussion about what is at stake when refugees and institutional actors in the refugee regime „learned by doing“. These remarks are informed by his current research which makes use of the extensive individual case files created by UNHCR between 1951 and 1975.
Peter Gatrell recently retired from the University of Manchester. His publications include A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia during World War 1 (1999); Free World? The Campaign to Save the World’s Refugees, 1956-1963 (2011); and The Making of the Modern Refugee (2013). His latest book, The Unsettling of Europe: the Great Migration, 1945 to the Present, published by Penguin Books and Basic Books in 2019, was awarded the Nanovic Institute’s Laura Shannon Prize and Italy’s „Premio Cherasco“. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and led the AHRC-funded research project, “Reckoning with refugeedom: refugee voices in modern history, 1919-1975”. See https://reckoningwithrefugeedom.wordpress.com/