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Unsettled: Citizens, Migrants, Refugees

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Priority booking for email subscribers will start 16 May. General sale opens 19 May.

Today, no one thinks of Britain as a land of camps. Instead, camps seem to happen "elsewhere," from Greece to Palestine to the global South. Yet from the 1930s to the 1980s, dozens of refugee camps in Britain housed tens of thousands of Jews, Basques, Poles, Hungarians, Anglo-Egyptians, Ugandan Asians, and Vietnamese. Within these camps, refugees shared space with Britons who had been displaced by war and poverty, generating unique intimacies and frictions.

In this talk we will explore how Britain's refugee camps have shaped the multicultural present, illuminating the closeness of individuals who 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 challenge of mass encampment, Bailkin offers warnings from a liberal democracy's recent past.

About the speaker

Jordanna Bailkin is the Jere L. Bacharach Endowed Professor in International Studies and Professor of History at the University of Washington, where she teaches British, European and imperial history. She is the author of The Culture of Property (2004), The Afterlife of Empire (2012), and Unsettled (2018); The Afterlife of Empire won the Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the American Historical Association, the Stansky 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 published articles on archives and decolonization, interracial murder in South Asia, and radio in decolonizing Africa. Currently, she is working on a new project about emotion and the welfare state.

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The National Archives is the official archive and publisher for the UK government, and for England and Wales.  We are the guardians of some of our most iconic national documents, dating back over 1,000 years.

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