This project argues that the late 1940s and 1950s saw the construction of global resettlement regimes. Earlier scholarship on displacement and resettlement has generally treated post-war experiences in Europe (the aftermath of the Holocaust) and in Asia (for example, in China) as separate domains. In contrast, this project shows the connections between the European and the Asian spheres, and further links them to Australia and the Americas.

This project explores the potential of global history with an innovative interface to legal history, by (a) analysing the role of international organizations and experts, especially linked with the United Nations system (UNRRA and IRO) in formulating policies that had a global impact; (b) analysing the interactions of this global resettlement regime with national policies of state and regional/local actors and experts; (c) analysing the movements of refugees across national borders and continents, and the role of communities in reshaping refugee lives; (d) focusing on select biographical and intellectual archives and experiences, to emphasize how refugees and the media created connected imaginaries.

The project will use Social GIS methods to map these flows of actors and knowledge, especially through an intensive focus on the International Tracing Service (ITS)/Arolsen archives, which have hitherto seldom been analyzed in global perspective. It will link this empirical corpus with data gleaned from other international, national, and local archives, as well as non-archival sources, such as refugee memoirs and biographies, and representations of refugee resettlement in newspapers and literature.

The project will follow these multiple but connected strands of enquiry by weaving together four interlinked optics: (a) on normativity; (b) on refugee’s lifeworlds and ‘state of exception’; (c) on global history and spatial studies, esp. the paradigm of ‘carceral geography’, in studying refugee camps; and (d) the emergent field of global intellectual history, and memory studies.

The project will result in monographs and edited volumes/journal special issues, a Social GIS project mapping trends of refugee resettlement, as well as public outreach to convey the ‘lessons learned’ about post-war refugee resettlement which can inform discussions today.

Funded by the European Union (ERC, GLORE, ECGA Nr. 101053242) Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the ERC. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.