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Topics in History: Migrants, Emigres, and Exiles: A History of the Refugee

A black and white image of a full train with people standing on the roof and hanging off the sides of the cars

In this course we will explore the history of forced migration from the early modern period to the present day. At the heart of our approach will be the question ‘who is a refugee?’. We will consider how governments, NGOs and migrants themselves have approached this question, and how their answers to it have shaped history and the contemporary world. To do so is to consider concepts like power and powerlessness, inclusion and exclusion, citizenship and statelessness. Taking a broadly chronological approach, we will consider the legal, political, historical and economic history of the refugee, exploring the causes, characteristics and consequences of forced migration. In doing so, we will consider a variety of refugee groups, from Jews fleeing Nazism in 1938 to Afghans fleeing the Taliban in 2021. Throughout the course, we will centre the experience, actions and histories of refugees themselves.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.