Past in the Present: Orienting Forced Migration Scholarship and Practice around History

Workshop at the 17th IASFM Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece, 24-27- July 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Room 4.1, Session II: 12.00 – 13.30 (Thessaloniki local time)
Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies, University of Macedonia,
Thessaloniki, Greece.


This session is concerned with the past as influence on the present. We wish to broaden the discussion on documentation, preservation, and research on the history of forced migration and refugees to include contributions from those who recognize the importance of these functions in their work, but have not previously had the opportunity to foreground their importance. We are looking forward to participants to help us address this in various types of scholarship and praxis.

In particular, we hope for generating a discussion with our participants who may explore the following questions: What are the ethics of utilizing historical/archival information in a grant, a research project, or a legal case? What are the barriers to accessing or addressing historical/archival information, whether in terms of practical access to archives or systemic disinterest in digging deep when there are ‘more pressing’ concerns? What (dis)continuities appear over time in migration accounts, policy-making, research and practice, and how do these affect our work?

This workshop will consist of three 30-minute sections: 1) a panel of 3-5 speakers who will initiate a discussion around the role of the past in the present in their work context, 2) a break-out discussion around themes of importance to the attendees, and 3) a reconvening where all participants will share their discussion points and recommendations for recognizing this type of work, with the aim of producing a written report after the conference. The workshop has been accepted at the IASFM conference, to be held 24-27 July 2018, hosted at the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece. The session builds on the IASFM session organized in 2016 by the Working Group of Archiving and Documentation of the History of Forced Migration and Refugees in Poznan.

All welcome!


Chair: Dr Rumana Hashem, co-ordinator, ADHFMR.


Dr Amadu Wurie Khan –Independent researcher and refugee scholar from Sierra Leone;

Dr Julie Young, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge, Canada;

Paul Dudman – Refugee Council Archive, University of East London;

Professor Shailja Sharma – Anthropologist and Professor of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at De Paul University, Chicago, USA.


Workshop authors’ Biographical Statement

The Workshop is organised by the Working Group for Archiving and Documentation of History of Forced Migration and Refugees. The lead author is an activist-sociologist and a co-ordinator of the IASFM Working Group for Archiving and Documentation of the History of Forced Migration and Refugees. The co-authors of the session are the organising members of the IASFM Working Group. They are professionally archivist, anthropologist, geographer, historian, sociologist, and doctoral students in forced-migration and refugee studies.

Detailed programme of IASFM17 is here: Details: