Borders, Global Governance and the Refugee, 1947–1951
Funded by The British Academy
In the context of contemporary debates over reforming refugee policy in the Global North, this project excavates the origins of the global refugee regime. In particular, it examines the regime’s positioning as the product of a particular historical moment after the Second World War, which established a system of global governance for managing forced migration, and set the stage for internationalist tensions with the nation-state. The UK was central to this process, as two of the era’s biggest refugee crises occurred following its withdrawal from India in 1947 and Palestine in 1948. By tracing the colonial legacies embedded in both these cases of mass displacements across new borders, our work challenges paradigms about post-war migration and raises new questions around the continuing impact of colonial-era structures. In this way, we seek to narrate a new international history that centres the role and experiences of forced migrants in this era.