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This term's series is convened by Dr J. Olaf Kleist

The predecessor of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Refugee Organization, helped 1 million people, including these Europeans from camps in Germany, Austria and Italy en route to a new life in the United States, to resettle in other countries.

Refugee Studies and Historiography have only lately begun to draw on each other more considerably. Some important studies in other disciplines have drawn on and examined historical events and developments of forced migration. Nonetheless, refugee research has long lacked an empirically rich history of its subject. Moreover, the focus of this fruitful cooperation is often directed at historical experiences and causes of flight. In contrast, this seminar series will be concerned with the history of refugee protection, with hospitality, sanctuary and asylum for forced migrants throughout history. Speakers will present pre-modern forms of protection as well as various historical refugee policies in modern contexts. Their papers will illustrate continuities and transformations of refuge over time. Thereby, the seminar series will contribute to revealing the historicity of past and current challenges in refugee protection and to illuminating opportunities of lessons from the past.

Hilary term seminars

21 January 2015
Refugees and the Roman Empire
Professor Peter Heather (King’s College London)

28 January 2015
Refuge and protection in the late Ottoman Empire
Professor Dawn Chatty (Refugee Studies Centre)

4 February 2015
*No seminar*

11 February 2015
The arrival of refugees and the making of India and Pakistan in 1947      
Dr Yasmin Khan (Kellogg College, University of Oxford)

18 February 2015
Exile, refuge and the Greek polis: between justice and humanity
Dr Benjamin Gray (University of Edinburgh)

25 February 2015
Hospitality, protection and refuge in early English law
Dr Tom Lambert (Exeter College, University of Oxford)

4 March 2015
Refugees – what’s wrong with history?
Professor Peter Gatrell (University of Manchester)

11 March 2015
Out with the 'international problem children'! US migration plans, settlement fantasies and the pacification of Europe
Dr Gerhard Wolf (University of Sussex)

time and location

All seminars take place on Wednesdays at 5pm in Seminar Room 1, Oxford Department of International Development, OX1 3TB. Everyone is welcome to attend and no registration is required. All events are free of charge. 


For all enquiries, please contact