CfP: Forced Migration: Exiles and Refugees in the UK and the British Empire, 1810s-1940s

Call for papers, deadline 13 February 2023

Forced migration of peoples was a common phenomenon in Europe and its peripheries throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From the Napoleonic Wars, revolutions, nationalism and imperialism, to the Great War, Communism and the rise of Fascism, this volume aims to fill a significant gap in historical knowledge of this important subject. It focusses upon the movement and settlement of political exiles and refugees from various parts of the world (including from the British Empire) in the UK and the wider British Empire from the 1810s to the 1940s, before the establishment of the United Nations’ Refugee Convention in 1951.

The volume explores how policies and practices on border control, reception and settlement, evolved over this time, and how the class, gender, ideology, race and nationalism of the exiles and refugees impacted upon these policies and practices. The volume seeks to answer broader historical questions. Did the British authorities and community more broadly welcome exiles and refugees more readily as time went by, or was there no significant shift or linear pattern discernible? Did policies and practices in the UK transfer quickly, if at all, to the colonial periphery, and what differences and similarities can be determined between the metropole and colonial margins? What are the links between immigration policies and practices in relation to displaced people, with the evolution of humanitarianism? Finally, but not least, what about the vices of the powerless, could they be heard, and was there any change over time?

The editors emphasise that a key consideration in our selections will be balance: balance between cases going to the UK and also to various parts of the British Empire; and balance across the entire period, with cases from across this substantial period, giving no greater focus on any one period over another.

If you believe that you can contribute a chapter, please send an abstract (up to 250 words) and biography (up to 150 words) to Professor Andrekos Varnava, Yianni Cartledge and Dr Evan Smith by 13 February 2023. On 20 February 2023 all those who submitted proposals will be notified of the result, and the book proposal will be sent to Brill, to be considered as part of the ‘Studies in Global Migration History Series’. Contributors will have until the end of September 2023 to submit a full draft, receive feedback, revise, and submit the final version by the end of November 2023, with a view to the book being published at the end of 2024 or start of 2025.


Andrekos Varnava, FRHistS, is Professor in British Imperial and Colonial Histories at Flinders University, South Australia and an Honourary Professor in History at De Montfort University, Leicester. He has authored four monographs: Assassination in Colonial Cyprus in 1934 and the Origins of EOKA (Anthem Press, 2021); British Cyprus and the Long Great War, 1914-1925: Empire, Loyalties and Democratic Deficit (Routledge, 2020); Serving the Empire in the Great War: The Cypriot Mule Corps, Imperial Loyalty and Silenced Memory (Manchester University Press, 2017); and British Imperialism in Cyprus, 1878-1915: The Inconsequential Possession (Manchester University Press, 2009). He has edited/co-edited 14 collections, most recently: New Perspectives on the Greek War of Independence: Myths, Realities, Legacies and Reflections (Palgrave, forthcoming 2022); Exiting War: The British Empire and the 1918-20 Moment (Manchester University Press, 2022); After the Armistice: Empire, Endgame and Aftermath (Routledge, 2021); Comic Empires: The Imperialism of Cartoons, Caricature and Satirical Art (Manchester University Press, 2019). He has published over 60 articles/chapters, including in English Historical Review (2017), The Historical Journal (2014), Journal of Modern History (2018), Historical Research (2014, 2017, 2022), Contemporary British History (2019), Social History of Medicine (2020), International History Review (2021) and Immigrants and Minorities (2022).

Yianni Cartledge is a PhD candidate at Flinders University, under the supervision of Professor Andrekos Varnava. His PhD thesis, titled ‘Aegean Islander Migration to the UK and Australia, 1815-1945: Emigration, Settlement, Community Building and Integration’, explores the migration of Aegean Islanders to the UK and Australia during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Yianni’s research interests include migration and the migrant experience, diaspora studies, Mediterranean histories (particularly the British and Ottoman Empires), and the history of modern Greece. An article from his Honours thesis, ‘The Chios Massacre (1822) and early British Christian-humanitarianism’ was published in Historical Research in 2020. New Perspectives on the Greek War of Independence: Myths, Realities, Legacies and Reflections (Palgrave, forthcoming 2022).

Evan Smith is a Lecturer in History at Flinders University and a Visiting Research Fellow (History) at the University of Adelaide. He has written widely on political extremism, national security and borders in Britain, Australia and southern Africa. He has published three monographs, No Platform: A History of Anti-Fascism, Universities and the Limits of Free Speech (Routledge, 2020); British Communism and the Politics of Race (Brill, 2018); (with Marinella Marmo) Race, Gender and the Body in British Immigration Control: Subject to Examination (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). His latest edited volume is Histories of Fascism and Anti-Fascism in Australia (edited with Jayne Persian and Vashti Jane Fox), which will be published by Routledge in December 2022.