Citizens and Refugees: Telling the Story of the Refugee Crisis of 2015

A talk by Joachim Häberlen, University of Warwick.


How can we tell the story of the refugee crisis of 2015? When does this story begin, who are its protagonists, what emotional registers are invoked, and how might this history be a scandal? The lecture will take a critical look at how this story is conventionally told, not only in an academic discourse but even more importantly in the public realm, by presenting those who are fleeing as (from a right-wing perspective) either dangerous threats to "our" democracy, or (from a leftist perspective) as victims of war and terror in desperate need of rescuing, thus evoking either fear or pity (or both). Offering more than a critique, the lecture will also inquire how an alternative to this narrative might look like, and what might be its scandalous political implications.

Joachim C. Häberlen is Associate Professor of Modern Continental European History at the University of Warwick. He has published extensively on this history of protest movements and emotions in 20th century Europe, and recently on the political implication of the refugee crisis of 2015. He is currently working on a history of protest movements in post-1945 Europe, forthcoming with Penguin Press, and on a project called "Citizens and Refugees: Stories from Afghanistan and Syria to Germany".

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