CFP: Session on ‘Boat people’: Past and Present

CFP: Session on ‘Boat people’: Past and Present (Extended deadline: 13 May 2015)

European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC) Valencia, 30 March-2 April 2016, Ethnicity and Migration Network

In recent months, there has been extensive political and public discussion about undocumented immigrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat. But this is not the first time that migrants have fled economic chaos, war and human rights abuses in this way. Well-known historical examples include the Vietnamese ‘boat people’ who sailed throughout Southeast Asia in the 1970s, Haitians and Cubans who attempted to reach the United State in the 1980s, and Albanians who crossed the Adriatic to Italy in the 1990s. Since 2000, boat people have reached the shores of industrialised countries in increasing numbers, most notably in southern Europe and Australia. But other states around the world have also had to grapple with the issue, such as Yemen and India.

This session will examine the varying receptions that ‘boat people have encountered over time.The term ‘boat people’ is understood here in a broad sense so that it includes Jewish refugees who sailed from Europe in search of safety in the 1930s, Estonians who sailed to Canada onboard ‘Viking Ships’ in the late 1940s, Spaniards who travelled clandestinely to Venezuela by boat in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and many others. Papers on historic and more contemporary migration involving ‘boat people’ are welcome.


If you would like to participate in this panel, please send a short bio and an abstract of your paper (200-300 words) to Irial Glynn ( by 13 May 2015. The deadline for session proposals is 15 May, so you will be informed about the composition of the session by 14 May. For more information about the conference, see:


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