The question of return has long been thought to be central to an exilic discourse and yet relatively little is known about how return migration is actually experienced and subsequently remembered by exiles and also by migrants more widely. In order to mark the 70th anniversary of the ‘official’ end of the Spanish Civil War and the start of the Second World War, events which led to the mass displacement of refugees, this conference seeks contributions for papers on the broad theme of conflict and return migration in twentieth-century Europe. We welcome individual papers or panels in English that focus on any exile, refuge or migrant return episode that has Europe as its point of arrival or departure. We are particularly interested in addressing the experiences, memories and conceptual issues of return in relation to the following questions:
• What were the motivations for returning? How did institutions, political and social networks influence return? How was return organised?
• What strategies did migrants adopt to deal with the impossibility of return?
• How were migrants received, perceived and represented by the authorities and communities upon their return?
• To what extent were attitudes and post-return daily practices (e.g. rituals, cultural practices, language etc.) influenced by the experience of migration? In what ways, if at all, did migrants re-construct questions of home and homeland upon their return?
• How does return relate to the wider migratory process? To what extent does return signify the end of exile, diaspora, and the closure of the migration cycle?
• How has return been remembered at an individual and group level? Does this vary between different categories of migrants?
• How has return been represented in literature, art and film? What are the epistemological and ontological implications of these representations? Does an adequate representation or performance of return exist?
Alicia Alted Vigil, Professor of History, UNED, Madrid
Geneviève Dreyfus-Armand, Historian and Director of the BDIC, Paris
Franziska Meyer, Associate Professor of German Studies, University of Nottingham
Organised with The Exilio Network: Research into Refugees and other Migrations, which is supported by the AHRC, and Outcast Europe.
A selection of papers will be considered for publication after the conference. Please send abstracts (250 words) before 01/09/08
Dr Alicia Pozo Gutiérrez / Dr Scott Soo
School of Humanities
University of Southampton
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