Greece, Turkey and the Past and Present of Forced Migrations


26 January 2022

Call for Papers

Location: Newcastle University, UK 

Date: 5th – 6th September 2022

A hybrid conference, hosted by Newcastle University

The conference will take place on the centenary of the 1922 forced displacement that followed a decade of warfare between Greece and the Ottoman Empire. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne legalised the forced movement of more than a million Greek Christians to Greece and that of approximately 400,000 Muslims to Turkey. The departure and arrival of both sets of refugees left indelible marks on both states and societies with the memory of refugeedom remaining strong today among all those of refugee descent.

Fast forward 100 years, Greece and Turkey are again at the epicentre of forced migrations, in what has become known as “Europe’s refugee crisis”. Greece is one of the main gateways to the EU for thousands of people on the move every year, while Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees worldwide. However, migration to, settlement in, and movement between the two countries is met with a number of challenges for forced migrants: the militarisation of borders, the erection of physical barriers, economic crises, political instability, populism, power politics, old rivalries, and a pandemic have posed insurmountable obstacles to people seeking refuge in recent times.

The centenary of the Greco-Turkish population exchange offers an opportunity to reflect on how forced migrations are remembered, lived, experienced and governed in the two countries and beyond.

Submission Details

Themes that we are keen to investigate – though not necessarily exclusively – are:

  • How do refugees remember their displacement? 
  • How do they communicate their experiences of displacement to others? 
  • How do host populations remember and perceive the migration/settlement of forced migrants, especially those who have had a refugee experience themselves? 
  • When do refugees stop considering themselves refugees, if they ever do so?
  • Those who have multiple experiences of being refugees, how do they remember these?
  • How are memories of past displacements connected to present-day experiences of injustice, emotions of fear, or struggles for individual or group recognition?
  • How do political elites, parties and other stakeholders create narratives about the contemporary forced migration situation by drawing upon the refugee past of host societies?
  • How do security and geopolitical considerations shape the way in which forced migration is remembered, lived, experienced and governed?
  • How do economic, political and health crises influence how forced migration is remembered, lived, experienced and governed?
  • What is the role of non-state actors (e.g., NGOs, IOs, IGOs) and supranational institutions (e.g. the EU) in how forced migration is remembered, lived, experienced and governed?

We welcome original/unpublished contributions to be presented at an international hybrid conference planned as a two-day event based in Newcastle upon Tyne on 5th and 6th September 2022. We invite abstracts from scholars working in any discipline and at any career stage. Interdisciplinary and comparative submissions, as well as contributions from early career scholars are especially welcome. We will endeavour to cover part of the travel or accommodation costs for presenters without their own institutional funding. There will be no conference fees. We aim to publish a selection of papers from the conference in the form of an edited book or a journal special issue.

If you are interested in participating in the conference, please submit a 400-word abstract and a brief bio to both Violetta Hionidou and Dimitris Skleparis by 15th April 2022. The successful applicants will be notified by 20th May 2022.

Conference organisers: Violetta Hionidou and Dimitris Skleparis, Newcastle University UK