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The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement


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This interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars from various disciplines researching transnational dimensions of memory, subjectivity and identity formation, broadly defined. Exploring the social-political processes and identities that resist or transcend neat categorisations of the ‘local’, ‘national’ or ‘global’, this conference explores different modes of transnational memory and commemoration that shape identities such as race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, and sexuality. The conference seeks to refine conceptual and methodological issues surrounding transnational memories, forms of remembering, and identities through a discussion of contemporary and historical case studies from across the globe as well as theoretically focused contributions to the field. The conference will be relevant to sociologists, historians, literary critics, political scientists, and human geographers interested in the relationships between memory and mobility.

Conference Keynote Speakers

We are delighted to announce that our three keynote speakers will be:

Professor Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (University College London).

Professor Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is Professor in Migration and Refugee Studies, and Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit and Coordinator of UCL's Refuge in a Moving World Research Network at UCL.

Professor Marianne Hirsch (Columbia University)

Marianne Hirsch is a Professor of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at Columbia University. She writes about the transmission of memories of violence across generations, combining feminist theory with memory studies in global perspective. Her books include The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust (2012)Family Frames: Photography, Narrative and Postmemory (1997) and the co-edited volume Women Mobilizing Memory (2019).

Professor Leo Spitzer (Dartmouth College)
Leo Spitzer is the K. T. Vernon Professor of History Emeritus and Research Professor at Dartmouth College. He writes about individual and collective responses to colonialism and exclusion, Jewish refugee memory, trauma and transmission. His books include Hotel Bolivia: The Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism (1998), Lives in Between: The Experience of Marginality in a Century of Emancipation (1990), and the co-edited Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present (1998).

Hirsch and Spitzer have co-authored two books: Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory (2010) and School Photos in Liquid Time: Reframing Difference (2020). They have also curated the current exhibit "School Photos and their Afterlives" (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College).

Their keynote for us will be:

Drawing on their recent book School Photos in Liquid Time: Reframing Difference, Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer will discuss the role of photography in three historical instances of incarceration of displaced and persecuted populations: photos taken at government controlled boarding schools into which Native American children were forcibly removed in the U.S. starting in the 1870s; photos taken, often surreptitiously, in school classes held in Nazi ghettos during the Second World War; and school photos made in concentration camps for Japanese Americans in the United States during the same period in the early 1940s. What do school photos do at such moments of crisis and transformation and what light do they shed on recent instances of child removal and family separation at the US Southern borders?


Call for Papers

The call for papers is now closed. Thank you for your interest in this conference.


This event is proudly supported by The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement, at the University of Cambridge, and the British Academy.



Zeina Azmeh, Department of Sociology

Jessica Fernández de Lara Harada, Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

Rin Ushiyama, Department of Sociology


If you have any questions about the conference in general, please do not hesitate to contact us at