Refugees and Survivors in National Historiographies and Public History. Archives, Voices and Memories

June, 16-17 2022 at Department of Society, Culture and Identity, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden

Confirmed keynote lectures
Philip Marfleet: The unheard – silencing refugees in modern history
Stephen Naron: The Fortunoff Archive as Model of Grassroots Refugee/Survivor Archival Activism
Christine Schmidt: We are all Witnesses’: Eva Reichmann and the Wiener Library’s Early Survivor Narratives
Zoë Waxman: Testimony as a Response to Mass Atrocity: The Case of the Holocaust

In this workshop we explore ways to recognize those who have experienced forced migration or genocides as agents in the past as well as documenters and knowledge producers of that past.

During the last decade scholars have highlighted the ways in which refugees have been given space in the writing of history and debated why refugees as actors have received so little attention. It had been argued that in cases where “refugees” and “survivors” are investigated, they are usually portrayed as an unnamed mass—passive victims of persecution, war, or revolution—not as named actors in various contexts. History writing have focused unilaterally on what is being done to or for those who are referred to as refugees or survivors rather than placing the focus on them as actors or persons. The importance of placing the people defined as refugees and survivors at the heart of history writing and exploring their perspectives, actions, experiences, and self-understanding has been stressed by historians, and refugee scholars and Holocaust scholars (see for example Peter Gatrell 2013, Philip Marfleet 2007; 2016 and Tony Kushner 2006).

One aim of the workshop is to explore the role that refugees, forced migrants and genocide survivors have played and continue to play in documenting, remembering and producing knowledge about genocide, oppression and forced migration. We are interested in exploring a range of linked questions: How can we understand the totality of the experience of forced migration – displacement, resettlement, forming a sense of self after the displacement – through testimonies, personal memories, and life stories? How can we account for memories that are likely to be fragmented and contested?  How can we write refugees and other forced migrants into national narratives and historiographies as historical actors in order to combat the tendency to portray them as passive victims? How do we reshape the memory political landscape if we attempt to rewrite national narratives from this perspective? How have individuals who have experienced genocide and forced migration kept the memory of their experiences alive? How have refugees, forced migrants, Holocaust and other genocide survivors resisted or cooperated with different memory institutions to have their experiences and the experiences of others documented and recognized in society. Which roles have refugees and survivors played in the development of archives, memory culture as well as the research fields of refugee studies, Holocaust studies and memory studies?

The program comprises four keynote lectures during day 1 that are free and open to all (but limited places: preregistration not later than May 15 required) and closed workshop for invited participants during day 2. Scholars who want to present a paper at the closed workshop, can apply by sending an e-mail (with a short ½ page proposal and a short CV) to the organizer of the Malmö workshop: Professor Malin Thor Tureby: Deadline: April 15, 2022. Accepted proposals will be notified no later than April 30. The project will cover the costs for travel and accommodation for younger scholars (PhD candidates and postdoctoral scholars) invited to the workshop.

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