'Refugees then and now'

Tony Kushner, Marcus Sieff Professor in History and Head of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations, University of Southampton.

Mon 29 - Thurs 2 May 2002, 5.15pm daily, including a community lecture Sun 28 April, Mamlock House

Venue: Arts Building, University of Manchester (Building 24 on Campus Map)


Series Abstract

The scale of the refugee crisis and the attempt of tens of millions to find asylum are amongst the greatest problems facing the contemporary world. The number of refugees, now over 30 million, is larger than ever before. Nevertheless, refugees have existed throughout history although few have been willing to acknowledge their presence.

These Sherman lectures will focus on Jewish refugees in the first half of the twentieth century but will make connections throughout to the situation today. Are the refugees of the past different to the refugees of the present? Have our responses to refugees changed? The theme of memory will run through these lectures: how do we remember those now regarded as genuine asylum seekers, such as Jews fleeing Tsarist persecution or Nazi antisemitism? Were they regarded as genuine at the time? Do positive memories of past refugees make us more sympathetically inclined to refugees today? The lectures will concentrate on Britain, with particular emphasis on the local experience, including the Manchester region. Ultimately they will raise the question of what are our responsibilities, as Jews and non-Jews, to those we have only our humanity in common.


Community Lecture: Sun 28 April, Mamlock House: 'Refugees Then and Now: Remembering to Forget?'

1. Mon 29 April: 'Refugees: the Forgotten History'

2. Tue 30 April: 'The Intimacy of Difference: British Diarists and the Immediate Memory of Jewish Refugees from Nazism'

3. Wed 1 May: 'The Kinder: A Case of Selective Memory?'

4. Thur 2 May: 'Racism and Our "Roma" Therapy: Amnesia Begins at Home'


Tony Kushner is Marcus Sieff Professor in History and Head of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations at the University of Southampton. He was born in Manchester in 1960 and educated at the University of Sheffield and University of Connecticut. In 1985/86 he was a historian at the Manchester Jewish Museum. He has worked at the University of Southampton since 1986 helping to promote the Parkes Library and teaching in the Department of History. He lives in Southampton with his wife and 2 children and is active in the local Jewish community.

Professor Tony Kushner is the author or editor of 11 books, including most recently with Katharine Knox, Refugees in an Age of Genocide (Frank Cass, 1999) and Disraeli's Jewishness (Vallentine, Mitchell, 2002). He jointly edits the journal, Patterns of Prejudice, and is currently the President of the British Association for Jewish Studies. He is a lifelong supporter of Manchester City and has also endured for three decades the ups and downs of his local team, Stockport County.