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Bringing Migration and History into the Equation: Re-Imagining Nationhood and Belonging, Jewish Museum Berlin, 5-7 October 2011‏

Migration poses challenges to European societies as we know them today; indeed, the inclusion of immigrants in these societies has become a controversial issue in most European countries.
Both of these statements are reflected in ongoing debates in numerous European countries. All too often, immigrants are seen as "Others" when it comes to constructing national cohesion and patterns of belonging and identity. The "Othering" of immigrants, perhaps best seen as a process of social construction and engineering, is closely interrelated with social, economic, linguistic and, increasingly, religious questions.
However, immigrant inclusion and exclusion cannot be regarded without reference to historical, cultural and symbolic questions. Thus the analysis of identity formation and collective identities in multiethnic societies brings the political scope of identity politics, historical representations and national narratives to the fore. It entails theoretical and practical questions of (newly) constituting nationhood and transcultural belonging, as well as re-positioning ethnic/migrant minorities in the public sphere.
This conference, Bringing Migration and History into the Equation: Re-Imagining Nationhood and Belonging, will address this intersection of migration, identity formation and belonging from comparative and historical perspectives. The emphasis will be on the intersection of history, politics and commemorative practices/strategies. Case studies as well as theoretical contributions are welcome. We invite the submission of papers on the following topics:
- Migrant inclusion and political/historical representation;
- (Re)formation of nationhood and identities under conditions of diversity;
- Writing, teaching and displaying history in immigrant societies;
- Social and cultural practices/strategies of institutions, organisations and communities to represent migrants and their cultures/histories;
- Transnational and mediated public spheres;
- Borders and belongings: From guest workers and refugees to post-migrants;
- Methodological and theoretical contributions with regard to identity formation, identity politics and historical representation of migration;
The conference will be composed of:
- an opening panel for a larger audience, including invited spokespeople from politics and art;
- a keynote opening lecture;
- panels based on academic papers;
- roundtables with short statements to generate new questions and ideas;
Contributions may be either (longer) academic papers or (shorter) input statements for roundtables, focused on innovative and relevant topics. The conference will be framed by the 50th anniversary of the German-Turkish labor recruitment contract in October 2011. Its commemoration raises a number of questions which will be contextualized in a comparative and international framework. The conference will take up the case of fifty years of German-Turkish labor agreements to shed light on more general issues
stated above. A follow-up conference will be held in Essen in spring 2012, focussing on Lieux de mémoire [places/sites of memory] of migration history. The October 2011 conference is open to scholars in the Humanities and the Social Sciences in the widest sense (anthropology, ethnology, geography, history, law, political sciences, sociology etc.). Abstracts for papers or contributions to roundtables will be considered on a competitive basis. The number of speakers for panels will be limited to 25. Limited financial
support for participants to subsidize expenses for accommodation is available upon request.
Submissions of abstracts (max. 600 words) and a short biographical note (not more than two pages) including a list of (selected) publications are welcomed until June 30, 2011. Papers and contributions will be circulated in advance and must be received by September 25, 2011. Please indicate if you intend to give a full paper or wish to participate in a roundtable.
For further information please visit (accessible from June 1, 2011)
or contact
Submission deadline: June 30, 2011
Please send your application to
The selection committee will select and notify the participants by early July 2011.