From Exodus 1947 to Lampedusa: Constructing the Migrant as “Illegal”

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Monday 5 February
Room 110, Medecroft Building, King Alfred Campus, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 4NR

This is part of the Modern History Research Centre series and will be given by Professor Tony Kustner (University of Southampton). For more information about the centre, click here 

In the 1930s and 40s, tens of thousands of Jews tried to reach Palestine by sea, many against the wishes of the British mandatory authorities. Today, the number of migrants trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean has run into the millions.

This talk will explore the continuities and parallels, as well as differences, between the two migratory movements and especially the idea of migrants being ‘illegal’. More generally it asks whether Jewish refugees from Nazism can be better understood in a longer tradition of forced migration in and beyond the twentieth century or whether their experiences were exceptional.

Tony Kushner is Professor in the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations and History Department at the University of Southampton. His most recent books are The Battle of Britishness: Migrant Journeys since 1685 (Manchester University Press, 2012) and Journeys from the Abyss: The Holocaust and Forced Migration from the 1880s to the Present (Liverpool University Press, 2017). He is currently working on a study of a Jewish triple murderer and, with Dr Aimee Bunting, Co-Presents to the Holocaust. He is co-editor of the journal Patterns of Prejudice and deputy editor of Jewish Culture and History.

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