Archive for October 7th, 2013

October, 2013

Picturing refugees

This is a short piece I wrote recently about picturing refugees—and teaching their history—on moderncontemporary, the blog of the Birmingham Centre for Modern and Contemporary History. Later in the week I’ll be posting about my historical work on refugees in the Middle East, and about the contemporary challenges facing humanitarians in the region.


I’m putting together the handouts for one of my classes next term, on the module we use to introduce incoming first-year undergraduates to doing history at university level. I have two groups, and I’m doing a different ‘intensive study topic’ for each of them (so as to avoid fights over scarce library resources…).

Christian refugees from Asia Minor, LoC ggb2006010957

Although I’m a Middle East historian by background, finding topics in Middle East history that have a substantial body of secondary literature is a bit tricky, and finding ones where the literature isn’t highly politicized is even trickier. So I’m turning to my other teaching area, refugee history, instead, with one class on the Greek-Turkish population exchange (admittedly a not unpolarized body of literature, but the worst of it is in Greek and Turkish; in English there’s a fair range of less tendentious material) and another on German Jewish refugees.

Now, one problem with teaching refugee…

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