British academy


The Refugee Problem and the Problems of Refugees

22-23 March 2004
The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1

A conference jointly organised by the British Academy and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and the Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge, and supported by Birkbeck College, London, and the Wiener Library, London

Refugees are a growing presence in the contemporary world. The number of refugees has almost tripled over less than two decades, from 8.5 million in 1985 to 21 million in 2000. As well as being an urgent contemporary concern, refugees and the agencies created to assist or control them have histories. In the twentieth century, two world wards and the settlements which followed them have produced large refugee movements. Since 1945 decolonization and nation-building, poverty, war, and environmental crises have produced further massive refugee flows in the third world.

This conference generated exchange between historical and contemporary perspectives on refugee movements and the institutions which responded to them. It will brought together historians, social scientists and legal scholars and encouraged discussion across disciplinary boundaries. Speakers included Aristide Zolberg, B. S. Chimni, Tony Kushner, Joya Chatterji, Liza Schuster, and Gil Loescher.

Monday 22 March 2004
Keynote lecture: The western asylum crisis: the way forward
Professor B.S. Chimni (The W.B. National University of Juridical Sciences, India)

The western asylum system is in ‘crisis’. This is commonly reflected in the ever changing national asylum laws and the adoption of a series of restrictive administrative and legal measures to stop third world asylum seekers reaching the western world. Professor Chimini outlined some procedural and substantive measures that could go some way to shape a progressive western response to the global refugee problem.

Tuesday 23 March 2004
All-day conference on the issue of refugees in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries

Historical and contemporary perspectives on refugee movements and the institutions that respond to them. This conference convenes historians, social scientists and legal scholars for discussion across traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Speakers' biographies

B.S.Chimni is Vice-Chancellor, West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Calcutta. He has been a Visiting Professor at the International Center for Comparative Law and Politics, Tokyo University, a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School, Harvard University, Visiting Fellow at Max Planck Institute for Comparative and Public International Law, Heidelberg, and a Visiting Scholar at Refugee Studies Center, York University, Canada. He was a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 1996-2000. In 1999 he delivered the first Barbara Harrell Bond Lecture at Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University. His publications include International Refugee Law: A Reader. He is a General Editor of the Asian Yearbook of International Law.

Stephen Castles is Professor of Migration and Refugee Studies, and Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. Stephen Castles studied sociology at Frankfurt am Main, and took an MA and DPhil at the University of Sussex. His books include: Immigrant Workers and Class Structure in Western Europe (with Godula Kosack, London: Oxford University Press, 1973); Here for Good: Western Europe's New Ethnic Minorities (London: Pluto, 1984); Citizenship and Migration: Globalization and the Politics of Belonging (with Alastair Davidson, London: Macmillan, 2000); and Ethnicity and Globalization: From Migrant Worker to Transnational Citizen (London: Sage, 2000). In 2003, his book The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World (with Mark Miller, Basingstoke, Palgrave-Macmillan) appeared in a third revised edition. Other new publications include: Migration in the Asia Pacific: Population, Settlement and Citizenship Issues, (co-edited with: Robyn Iredale and Charles Hawksley (Cheltenham and Northampton MA: Edward Elgar, 2003); and States of Conflict: Causes and Patterns of Forced Migration to the EU and Policy Response', (with Heaven Crawley and Sean Loughna (London: Institute of Public Policy Research, 2003).

Joya Chatterji, a sometime Fellow of Trinity College, is currently Lecturer in International History at the London School of Economics. She is the author of Bengal Divided: Hindu Communalism and Partition, 1932-1947 (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and is currently working on a second monograph on the implications of partition for society and politics in Bengal since Independence. She received a MacArthur Foundation Award in support of her work on the East Bengal refugees

Professor Gil Loescher is Senior Fellow for Migration, Forced Displacement and International Security at The International Institute for Strategic Studies and Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies and Queen Elizabeth House at Oxford University. He is the author of over a dozen books, including The UNHCR and World Politics: A Perilous Path (Oxford University Press).

Louise London, PhD. University of London (1992). Taught at Royal Holloway and

University College London. Lawyer working in London. Previously specialised in immigration law. Main publications: Whitehall and the Jews, 1933-1948: British Immigration Policy and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000; paperback 2003; Whitehall and the Refugees: The 1930s and the 1990s. Patterns of Prejudice, XXXIV, 3, 17-26; Britain and refugees from Nazism: policies, constraints and choices in Steinert & Weber-Newth eds,. European Immigrants in Britain 1933-1950, Munich, 2003.

Khalid Koser is Lecturer in Human Geography at UCL and a member of the Migration Research Unit. He is also the Vice-President of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM). His current research is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and focuses on human smuggling and trafficking between Afghanistan/Pakistan and the UK. He is the editor or co-editor of: New African Diasporas (Routledge, 2003), New Approaches to Migration? (Routledge, 2002), The End of the Refugee Cycle (Berghahn, 1999) and The New Migration in Europe (Macmillan, 1998)

Tony Kushner is currently Head of History and is Marcus Sieff Professor of Jewish/non-Jewish relations at the University of Southampton. His recent books include: Refugees in an Age of Genocide (1999 with Katharine Knox) and edited, Disraeli's Jewishness (2002 with Todd Endelman). His We Europeans Mass-Observation, 'Race' and National Identity in Twentieth Century Britain" is in press (2004). He is currently working on a book on Refugees and Memory in Britain

Mark Mazower is Professor of History at Birkbeck College London. He has also taught at Princeton and Sussex. His books include: Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44, Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century, and The Balkans. He has recently been working on a history of the city of Salonica. He also writes regularly for the Financial Times and other newspapers and media.

Dr. Graeme Rodgers is a social anthropologist at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Over the last ten years he has conducted field research on the Mozambique-South Africa border, mainly on the impact of humanitarian aid on refugees, post-war reconstruction in Mozambique and the transformation of transnational relationships across the border.

Liza Schuster is a Senior Researcher at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, Oxford. She was previously T. H. Marshall Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics, where she continues to teach. She is the author of The Use and Abuse of PoliticalAsylum in Britain and Germany (Frank Cass 2003).

Bernard Wasserstein: Educated: Balliol and Nuffield Colleges, Oxford. Professor of History, Brandeis University, 1982-96; President, Oxford, Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, 1996-2000; Professor of History Glasgow University, 2000-3; Professor of History, University of Chicago, 2003- Publications include: The British in Palestine(1978), Britain and the Jews of Europe, 1939-45 (1979), The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln (1988), Herbert Samuel (1992), Vanishing Diaspora (1996), Secret War in Shanghai (1998), Divided Jerusalem (2001), and Israel and Palestine (2003).

Aristide R. Zolberg is Walter A. Eberstadt Professor of Political Science at the Graduate Faculty of New School University in New York City and director of its International Center for Migration, Ethnicity, and Citizenship. Among his publications areOne-Party Government in the Ivory Coast (Princeton University Press, 1964; rev. ed., 1969); Creating Political Order: The Party-States of West Africa (1966; reprinted University of Chicago Press, 1985); and as co-editor (with Philip Foster) and contributing author to Ghana and the Ivory Coast: Patterns of Modernization (University of Chicago Press, 1971), Working-Class Forma­tion: Nineteenth Century Patterns in Western Europe and the United States (Princeton, 1986; co-edited with Ira Katznelson, contributing author). In the field of immigration and refugee studies, he is co-author (with Astri Suhrke and Sergio Aguyao) of Escape from Violence: Conflict and the Refugee Crisis in the Developing World (Oxford, 1989; translated into Dutch); co-editor (with Peter Benda) of Global Migrants, Global Refugees (Berghahn, 2001). and co-editor (with Martin Schain and Patrick Hossay) of Shadows over Europe (Palgrave, 2002). He is currently completing A Nation by Design? Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America (forthcoming, Harvard University Press and Russell Sage Foundation, 2005).