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8 March 2024

Whether as a product of man-made miseries or natural disasters, the refugee experience and incidents of forced migration are indelible parts of human history throughout the world. Many such tragic events dominating the news today are causing, or are predicted to cause, large waves of forced migration. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen nearly 6 million refugees flee across Europe and 8 million people internally displaced. The climate crisis threatens to displace an estimated 1.2 billion people by 2050. Such displacements, however, are not unique to the modern period. Although there has been much scholarship on the forced migrations of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, comparatively little has been done on those of earlier periods of history.

Thanks to support from the University of Warwick’s Early Modern and Eighteenth-Century Centre, the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance and the Global History and Culture Centre, we will be holding a day-long workshop on 8 March 2024 to discuss the history of pre-twentieth-century refugee crises and forced migrations.

The workshop aims to examine three key causes of forced migration and refugee flights throughout history and around the world: war, slavery and natural disasters. There will be a panel on each theme as well as a round-table discussion.

Since the scope of the workshop is broadly pre-twentieth century and global, we welcome proposals for papers relating to not only Europe and the Americas but also the Global South. We strongly encourage submissions from postgraduates and early-career researchers working on historical forced migration and refugees before the twentieth century, but we also welcome submissions relating to the period before the outbreak of the Second World War.

This will be a hybrid event taking place both online and on the campus of the University of Warwick. If you would like to present a paper, please submit a 200-300 word abstract before Friday 9 February 2024. 

Please direct all abstracts and enquiries to Dr Thomas Pert (University of Warwick) at