Jordanna Bailkin Unpacks the ‘Unsettled’ History of British Refugee Camps in New Book and Public Appearances

BailkinJordanna Bailkin (History) has a new book with Oxford University Press delving into the history of refugee camps in 20th century Britain. While we rarely think of Britain as a “land of camps,” as Bailkin puts it, it built dozens of camps housing tens of thousands of Belgians, Jews, Basques, Poles, Hungarians, Anglo-Egyptians, Ugandan Asians, Vietnamese, and others fleeing the interlocking crises of war and empire.

In Unsettled: Refugee Camps and the Making of Multicultural Britain, Bailkin show how the complex interaction among citizens, migrants, and refugees shaped today’s multicultural Britain. She also unpacks the contemporary relevance of her work in a series of recent public writings in the UK’s Prospect magazine, on the websites The Conversation and Refugee History, as well as a speaking appearance on the BBC History Extra podcast.

On December 6, Bailkin also delivers a Katz Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities on the topic “Unsettled: Citizens, Migrants, and Refugees in British History,” at 7 pm in UW’s Kane Hall.

More from the publisher:

As the world's refugee crisis once again brings to Europe the challenges of mass encampment, Unsettled offers warnings from a liberal democracy's recent past. Through lively anecdotes from interviews with former camp residents and workers, Unsettled conveys the vivid, everyday history of refugee camps, which witnessed births and deaths, love affairs and violent conflicts, strikes and protests, comedy and tragedy. Their story—like that of today's refugee crisis—is one of complicated intentions that played out in unpredictable ways. The aim of this book is not to redeem camps—nor, indeed, to condemn them. It is to refuse to ignore them. Unsettled speaks to all who are interested in the plight of the encamped, and the global uses of encampment in our present world.

Bailkin was a member of the 2017-2018 Society of Scholars, and she also joins the Simpson Center’s Executive Board in 2018.

Congratulations, Jordanna!

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