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RSC Public Seminar Series, Trinity term 2023

Series convened by Dr Uttara Shahani

About the seminar

Making Refugees in India offers a global history of India’s ideas and practices surrounding the refugee. In focusing on one of the first states to formally decolonise in the middle of the 20th century, the book examines how the shift from colonial to postcolonial – both within the subcontinent as well as the shifting nature of the international order– led to a rewriting of the global idea of the refugee. Though India has not signed the two key United Nations instruments pertaining to refugees, it has offered sanctuary for millions over the course of the twentieth century. Examining the period from the so-called ‘Wilsonian’ moment all the way to the East Pakistani refugee crisis of 1971, Making Refugees extends the timeline of India’s history with refugees well beyond the Partition of 1947. Doing so reveals that India’s seemingly inconsistent refugee policy is actually representative of an ongoing tension between self-determination versus individual rights in a former-colony-turned-nation-state even as it worried about colonial inequities being reproduced in the postcolonial world order of the United Nations. The refugee thus became both constitutive and destructive of Indian citizenship, and any share of rights accorded to them by India – rights born from an anti-colonial battle for self-determination – had to be measured against the sovereignty that gave India both the power to grant rights to Indian citizens but also to argue for an equitable world order in global forums.

About the speaker

Ria Kapoor is a Lecturer in History and a fellow of QMUL’s interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. She completed a D.Phil in History at the University of Oxford, has previously held posts at the Universities of Leeds and Manchester.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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Forthcoming events

Book launch: The Politics of Crisis-Making: Forced Displacement and Cultures of Assistance in Lebanon

Wednesday, 29 May 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Skilled worker visas for refugees – a qualitative evaluation of the UK’s Displaced Talent Mobility Pilot

Wednesday, 05 June 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

A celebration of the life of David Turton

Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA