Global Histories of Refugees in the 20th and 21st Centuries
$55 – $110
Global Histories of Refugees in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Global Histories of Refugees in the 20th and 21st Centuries

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Melbourne Law School

185 Pelham Street

Carlton, VIC, Australia

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The plight of refugees has become the global issue of our times. The United Nations has estimated that over 65 million people worldwide are displaced as a result of conflict and persecution, the highest number since the 1990s. In most recent events, an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in 2011.

Throughout the twentieth century and now into the early decades of the twenty-first century, involuntary displacement of peoples has become a defining feature of the modern era. This 3-day international conference seeks to explore all aspects of the history of the past and present plight of refugees.

It aims to address a broad range of questions relating to this history, such as:

  • What has defined different refugee crises at different times in history?
  • What has been the magnitude of the refugee crisis and how can we explain its scale?
  • How have governments, humanitarian aid agencies, philanthropic and other organizations responded to refugee crises in modern times?
  • What have they learnt from past campaigns?
  • How have refugees experienced displacement?
  • How has the refugee experience changed time? 

Conference papers will explore themes such as:

  • The place of personal testimony in understanding the histories of displaced people
  • How the category of refugee has been defined in different times and places
  • The changing process of regulation and administration of displaced people
  • The role of place and space in understanding histories of displacement
  • The relationships between historical and contemporary debates about refugees
  • The place of gender, families and nations in understanding refugee histories
  • The place of sound, speech, music and visual representations in refugee histories
  • How displacement and migration has been remembered, and narratives used to understand these histories
  • The historical and political work of humanitarian endevours with displaced people


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Please join us for our 2-course Conference Dinner at 7:00pm, October 6 at University House, Professors Walk. Conference Dinner tickets can be purchased at checkout. 

Presented by the EU Centre on Shared Complex Challenges, the ARC Laureate Fellowship on the History of Child Refugees, the Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Law School            


Students are welcome to attend, but student tickets are limited. Students must register with their valid student email address and provide their student ID number.  

Image: British Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan/Flickr

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Date and Time
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Melbourne Law School

185 Pelham Street

Carlton, VIC, Australia

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