Jordanna Bailkin on Migrants and Refugees in British History Dec. 6

Bailkin

Historian Jordanna Bailkin speaks on "Citizens, Migrants, and Refugees in British History" as a Katz Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities at 7 pm on Thursday, December 6, in Kane Hall 210. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bailkin is UW Professor of History, Jere L. Bacharach Endowed Professor in International Studies, and author of the new book Unsettled: Refugee Camps and the Making of Multicultural Britain (Oxford, 2018). A scholar of modern Britain and Empire, Bailkin is the author of The Culture of Property (2004), and The Afterlife of Empire (2012). The Afterlife of Empire won the Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the American Historical Association, the Stansky Book Prize from the North American Conference on British Studies, and the Biennial Book Prize from the Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies. She has also written articles on tattooing in Burma, interracial murder in India, and parenthood in Nigeria.

More on Unsettled:

Today, no one really thinks of Britain as a land of camps. Camps seem to happen "elsewhere", from Greece, to Palestine, to the global South. Yet over the course of the twentieth century, dozens of British refugee camps housed hundreds of thousands of Belgians, Jews, Basques, Poles, Hungarians, Anglo-Egyptians, Ugandan Asians, and Vietnamese. Refugee camps in Britain were never only for refugees. Refugees shared a space with Britons who had been displaced by war and poverty, as well as thousands of civil servants and a fractious mix of volunteers. Unsettled: Refugee Camps and the Making of Multicultural Britain explores how these camps have shaped today's multicultural Britain. They generated unique intimacies and frictions, illuminating the closeness of individuals that have traditionally been kept separate--"citizens" and "migrants", but also refugee populations from diverse countries and conflicts.

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 has also been active discussing 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.

More on Katz Distinguished Lectures in the Humanities.

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