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Canceled | Third-World Refugees and Asylum in Divided Germany in the 1970s and 80s

April 3, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Note: This event has been canceled. It will be included in the 2020-2021 NCGS program.

During the 1970s and 80s, tens of thousands of refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia began seeking asylum in West Germany each year. While scholars have examined how the West German media, state, and society responded to refugee “crises,” this talk draws on archival sources, documentary films, poetry, and oral histories to examine the intellectual and social worlds of refugees themselves. As individuals and in groups, a number of non-European refugees developed critiques of nationalism and racism, denounced refugee encampments as contrary to international law and democracy, and made legal claims to asylum. These assertions recast immigration as a matter of rights—and not merely of contract labor or humanitarian compassion—and altered perceptions about West Germany’s place in the post-1945 world.

Bill Sharman is a doctoral candidate at Duke University, where he studies modern European, African, and global history. He is working on a dissertation called “Moral Politics: Global Humanitarianism, the Third World, and West Germany.”

Moderator: James Chappel | Duke University, Department of History

In cooperation with the Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill Departments of History. This event is part of the North Carolina German Studies Workshop and Seminar Series.

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April 3, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


569 Hamilton Hall
102 Emerson Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States
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